The Mapping of Man
“...One does not argue over tastes for the same reason one does not argue over the Rocky Mountains—both are there, will be there next year, too, and are the same for all men,” write two Nobel Laureates in economics. Since its 1977 publication, George J. Stigler and Cary S. Becker’s article, “De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum” (Tastes are Indisputable), has been often cited, much disputed, and has deeply influenced the social science tastes of numerous scholars. There are more reasons to follow this rather arcane debate than to be reminded of how much a relief it is that you no longer have to hand in term papers. At issue are questions such as to what extent can we simplify the world to get a handle on it, without doing violence to it? (All men have the same tastes??). Most profoundly at question is how to best understand the ways we make choices, not merely in the marketplace but also when we choose friends, mates, even—when we fight addiction. Most profoundly, at issue is the extent to which people are creatures of history and culture as against being free to chart their own course.
KeywordsIncome Stake Mist
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