Bryan Caplan  

Make-Work Bias of the Macabre

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A reader calls this the "most bizarre form of make-work bias I have ever seen," and I have to agree:

NAJAF, Iraq — At what's believed to be the world's largest cemetery, where Shiite Muslims aspire to be buried and millions already have been, business isn't good.

A drop in violence around Iraq has cut burials in the huge Wadi al Salam cemetery here by at least one-third in the past six months, and that's cut the pay of thousands of workers who make their living digging graves, washing corpses or selling burial shrouds.

Can anyone doubt that we should dream of a world where every grave digger, corpse washer, and shroud seller loses his job?

HT: Josh Hendrickson


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COMMENTS (8 to date)
caveat bettor writes:

Wait, you just argued in the previous post to cut defense spending in half, which expose members of our armed forces to death and therefore will boost growth in these industries that you now are dreaming away?

Myth of the rational econ blogger.

caveat bettor writes:

Wait, you just argued in the previous post to cut defense spending in half, which will expose members of our armed forces to greater death and therefore will boost growth in these industries that you now are dreaming away?

Myth of the rational econ blogger.

General Specific writes:

The news article you reference reports on a fact. Does it anywhere state that there is a drive afoot to subsidize or improve business for the gravediffers and merchants at death's door?

Unless I missed it, I don't think so.

I think the only bias in this case is the work that went into the post (and the energy required to tip the hat).

Let's call this bias I've just discovered the looking for bias bias.

John Fast writes:

I'm considering doing my thesis on fantasy and science fiction and their link to the social sciences; for example, the film GATTACA raises issues about "genetic domination." (Actually it raises issues about Statist domination.) When I saw the title of your post I immediately wondered, "Has anyone done an economic analysis of the effects of replacing low-skilled workers with zombies?" I've seen at least one sf story which dealt with this issue...and of course there is the "Masters of Horror" episode "Homecoming." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homecoming_%28Masters_of_Horror_episode%29

Matthew c writes:

Can anyone doubt that we should dream of a world where every grave digger, corpse washer, and shroud seller loses his job?

Does this mean that you, too, are now a "Singularitarian", "Extropian" and all that?

TGGP writes:

caveat bettor, I believe Bryan wants to reduce defense spending by bringing troops home and out of harm's way.

Matthew C, I thought you might be interested to know that Eliezer Yudkowsky praises Roger Penroses' anti-reductionist books on the mind.

Matthew c writes:

TGGP,

Elizier is really writing some good stuff on OB the last week or so. I'm impressed.

B.H. writes:

Is this evidence that the "surge" is working?

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