Mart Malakoff wrote:
>Most of what i could get when involved with academia was stuff like modeling conformations of DNA , and stuff related to biotech. Thats fine and itslef can be interesting and sometimes useful (but in this age of 'Big Pharma' and the opiate epidemic , and obesity fueled by junk food, you can question exactly how valuable biomedical research focusing on genes and biomolecules is---studying prejudice, blame , responsibility and priviledge may be more socially valuable, along with environment, behavioral economics (alot of which now is applied by corporations for marketing) , inequality, intolerance, etc.
I think a bit part of why people don't try to model prejudice, blame, responsibility and privilege. If it doesn't involve numbers, too many people it's un-modelable. To many many people, math is strictly about numbers.
It's interesting though because things like assigning responsibility to the appropriate parties are equivalent to assigning property under the labor theory of property, or as one (and perhaps the only) economist (David P. Ellerman) points this out clearly,
> In the context of assigning property rights and obligations, the juridical principle of imputation is expressed as the labor theory of property which holds that people should appropriate the (positive and negative) fruits of their labor. Since, in the economic context, intentional human actions are called “labor”, we can express the equivalence as:
>**The Juridical Principle of Imputation:** People should have the legal responsibility for the positive and negative results of their intentional actions.
>**The Labor Theory of Property:** People should legally appropriate the positive and negative fruits of their labor.
>In other words, the juridical principle of imputation is the labor theory of property applied in the context of civil and criminal trials, and the labor theory of property is the juridical principle applied in the context of property appropriation.
>Some individuals, such as infants or the insane, are not capable of de facto responsible actions.
>>The statement that an individual is zurechnungfähig (“responsible”) means that a sanction can be inflicted upon him if he commits a delict. The statement that an individual is unzurechnungsfähig (“irresponsible”)– because, for instance, he is a child or insane–means that a sanction cannot be inflicted upon him if he commits a delict. … The idea of imputation (Zurechnung) as the specific connection of the delict with the sanction is implied in the juristic judgment that an individual is, or is not, legally responsible (zurechnungsfähig) for his behavior. [Kelsen 1985, 364]
>Regardless of their causal efficacy, things are, a fortiori, unzurechnungsfähig.
>De facto responsibility is not a normative notion; it is a descriptive factual notion. The juridical principle of imputation is a normative principle which states that legal or de jure responsibility should be assigned in accordance with de facto responsibility. In the jury system, the jury is assigned the factual question of “officially” determining whether or not the accused was de facto responsible for the deed as charged. If “Guilty” then legal responsibility is imputed accordingly.
>Economics is always on “jury duty” to determine “the facts” about human activities. These are not value judgments (where social scientists have no particular expertise). The economist-as-juror is only required to make factual descriptive judgments about de facto responsibility. In this chapter we are not concerned with the normative principle of juridical imputation (i.e., the labor theory of property applied in the courtroom), only the descriptive question of responsibility. The normative and descriptive questions should be kept conceptually distinct. That separation is difficult since, given the juridical principle, de facto responsibility implies de jure responsibility.
>In a given productive enterprise, the descriptive question asks what set of people are de facto responsible for producing the product by using up the various inputs? The economist-as-juror faces that question. The marginal productivity of tools (machine tools or burglary tools) is not relevant to this factual question of responsibility either inside or outside the courtroom. Only human actions can be responsible; the services provided by things cannot be responsible (no matter how causally efficacious). The original question includes the question of who is responsible for using up those casually efficacious or productive services of the tools .
>The question of de facto responsibility, whether posed in a courtroom or outside, presupposes the understanding that persons act and things don’t. Yet it is precisely the presupposition that is “overlooked” in economic theory which treats both the services of human beings and the services of capital and land symmetrically as “input services.” Economists choose to limit their description of the human activity of production to an engineering description of the causally efficacy of the various types of input services. The unique responsible agency of human activities is not acknowledged.