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Economics And Statistics Don’t Care About Your Feelings – Art Carden: Economics Everywhere, for Everyone

Economics And Statistics Don’t Care About Your Feelings

I feel like...

Here’s a great article from the New York Times that discusses one of my pet peeves: “I feel like.” The law of demand doesn’t care how you feel. The statistical properties of data don’t care how you feel. Things like the law of comparative advantage are not matters of emotional intuition or feelings. They are matters of logic and evidence. You can FEEL sympathy for someone mired in poverty or someone who grows up without a father or someone who doesn’t have the advantages you have. You can’t “feel like” this policy or that will actually help them.

“I feel” does not lead to correct inference. The appropriate mode is thinking, the appropriate phrase is “I think,” and it needs to be backed up by clear theory and evidence.

For important thoughts on this, read C.S. Lewis’s “Screwtape Proposes a Toast” and George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language.”

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