University of Chicago law professor Todd Henderson just sent to me the following e-mail about an NPR report on the economically ignorant billionaire Nick Hanauer’s support for the minimum wage. I share Todd’s e-mail here in full with his kind permission:
Just heard this guy on NPR on a program called “The World,” put out by PRI.
I thought about calling in, but then realized an astronomer would not call in if the guest were denying the existence of gravity.
In light of this post that I put up earlier this afternoon, I agree with Todd that an astronomer would not, and should not, waste his time battling such abject ignorance of physics. But an economist – or someone who knows economics well, such as Todd – would not be wasting his or her time to battle economic ignorance such as this particular manifestation of it. The reason for the difference is that, while no one will attempt in reality to act as if the law of gravity is optional, many people will – and do – attempt in reality to act as if the law of demand is optional.