Thursday, October 22, 2015

A Nobel Prize Economist Comments On US Politics And Cultural Trends

Angus Deaton is the latest recipient of the Nobel Prize in economics.  The Royal Economic Society published his Letter From America in which he comments on Donald Trump's campaign for the Republican Party's nomination for the presidency.  Trump's popularity with a segment of the electorate is viewed as a symptom of deeper issues in the US political system.  Deaton also commented on the rise in drug addiction outside of the minority population.  He attributes it to changes in the economic system and to changes in the distribution of addictive drugs.  The narco industry, which imports illegal drugs for resale in the US, has become more sophisticated and the pharmaceutical industry has become more predatory.  One drug company paid a large fine for claiming that one of its addictive drugs was not addictive. 

Deaton's economic research has not followed the the usual path towards earning a Nobel Prize.  His commentary on US politics, and changes in the US social fabric,  are also atypical.  Economics cannot be easily separated from the social and political environment is which it takes place.

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