>Thinking and writing analytically about race is certainly a good and
>important thing to do.
>As far as I know, the "race problem" has been analytically treated in
>two ways. One, to consider human homogeneity (there is one human race).
>Two to consider human heterogeneity (there are different human races).
>The father of economics and his followers fall in the first group. It is
>indeed the idea of radical human homogeneity that made economics dismal,
>attracting the furies of who believed in human heterogeneity.
>I think it is therefore surprising to see economists abandoning their
>original analytical framework. Especially since, historically, the
>analytical and scientific research on races was called eugenics....

Let me disagree on two points:

1. While it is true that Smith thought innate variation of humans to 
be low, that isn't a defining assumption of economics, it is a 
conjecture that is capable of being tested.

2. "Eugenics" wasn't "the analytical and scientific research on 
races." It was a particular policy program--to improve the world by 
breeding better human beings. Currently, the term seems to be used 
mainly as a way of demonizing any serious thought about human genetic 

Not only is there nothing inherently wicked about studying genetic 
diversity, there is nothing inherently wicked about trying to breed 
better humans--only about the means that some people proposed for 
doing it.

Consider Heinlein's eugenic proposal, based on a technology that did 
not exist when he was writing (it was in a work of fiction) but is 
now coming into existence. There are many different children that a 
given couple could have. Find a way of making it possible for the 
couple to choose among them--to produce their child from a fertilized 
egg known not to contain the genes that give the father his bad heart 
or the mother her tendency to diabetes. That is a eugenic proposal in 
the ordinary meaning of the word--do you see anything wrong with it?
David Friedman
Professor of Law
Santa Clara University

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