One portion of the devastating documentary about the global financial collapse, Inside Job (which won an Oscar, so you have to see it), dealt with academic economists—specifically, the ways that they became financially tied to banks and other players in finance, and how that may have compromised the entire practice of economics. It even showed the heads of the economic departments at Harvard (pictured) and Columbia blithely asserting that there was no need to disclose their financial conflicts of interest in academic papers. It was sickening.
We’re pleased to announce that a documentary has actually affected something in the real world! Well, kind of. The economics profession has formed a committee! A prestigious committee. A committee that will talk about whether there needs to be, get this, ethical standards, in economics. Can you imagine?
But here’s the thing: the committee isn’t even proposing an end to conflicts of interest. It’s only pushing for disclosure.
(via Alex Pang, who was earlier asking for different reasons whether it was time to emigrate to Singapore)