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I Don’t Like ‘dem Apples

On today’s Kojo Nnamdi Show, someone named Tom Burford (who’s an expert on apples) issued two complaints that are evidence of just how very deeply economic ignorance runs in society.  He said:

(1) that large apple growers do not care about the taste of their product; they care only about profiting from the sale of apples;


(2) because apples are so important to the U.S. (although, he admits, not indigenous to the Land of the Free), he’s quite upset – I think he used the word “offended” – that Americans import apples.  He cannot understand why Americans import apples.

Mr. Burford sounds like a perfectly nice and intelligent human being.  And I don’t doubt that he is.  Yet these two claims that he made publicly are just such ideal specimens of the way so many people ‘think’ about economics that I can’t resist sharing them here at the Cafe.  Note that the problem with these statements isn’t that they express an opinion about preferences that I happen not to share; instead, the problem is that they are economically illogical – thoughtless – hilariously wrong to anyone who knows even a smidgen of economics.

One problem with group decision-making is that people as economically thoughtless and clueless as this Mr. Burford get to have a say in how other people lead their lives.

(I do agree with one main point of this Kojo Nnamdi Show that only one of the two descriptors in the name of Red Delicious apples is true: those apples are indeed vividly red.)