Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Fallacy of the Special Case

I was unaware that there is a name for this common intellectual "error" (quotes because frequently the use of this strategy is intentional), but Mark Perry is.  And he enlightens readers as to several of its most common manifestations, with a particular focus on the minimum wage issue.  The context is a recent article by the incomparable Walter Williams, which Perry quotes in length in his post.  Here's the introduction of Perry's post:
Walter Williams explains why he considers it to be “economic malpractice” for (former) economist Paul Krugman (and others) to claim that the Law of Demand applies universally except apparently in one case: the demand for unskilled and low-skilled workers. As the title of his column suggests (“Embarrassing Economists“), Professor Williams finds it embarrassing that some (former) economists like Krugman are not bothered by their own “intellectual and economic inconsistency” (see graphic above).
This is a superb blog post -- it contains not only Williams's discussion on minimum wage as an example of a "special case", but Perry also points out several other common examples of political policies that are justified as being "special cases".  Good stuff from a superb blogger.