Every time someone takes a job in finance, somewhere in the world a puppy dies

Russ Roberts interviews Daron Acemoglu on EconTalk. In general, “interview with Daron Acemoglu” is a good indicator you should listen to something. This is no exception.

In general, they talk about Raghuram Rajan’s argument that growing US inequality is behind the current financial mess. Acemoglu disagrees about the politics.

The bit I found most interesting? The skepticism both held for finance jobs and the public good.

Neither expresses anything quite like my post title (one of the pleasures of having a blog is freedom of hyperbole–indulge me) but neither has a high regard for the exorbitant returns to finance careers. Neither buys the argument that greasing the wheels of capitalism merits the rewards (and at GMU!). And both seem to think the global economic and social product would be better if more of us became entrepreneurs (and, presumably, economists). I do not disagree.

The political economy of high finance wages would make an interesting read. Is it written? I have a feeling it’s an insider game. And the monitors? Shareholders look more like drunken gamblers than management overseers. But I am way out of my speciality.

Acemoglu’s original talk, sans finance denigration, here.

In the meantime, I admit I must be part of the problem. The biggest employers of Yale undergrads? Investment and retail banks. But I am doing my best to steer towards other careers less detrimental to puppies.