Letters: Girl geeks, an economists’s code of ethics?

Marketplace Staff Jan 12, 2011
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Letters: Girl geeks, an economists’s code of ethics?

Marketplace Staff Jan 12, 2011
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Kai Ryssdal: It’s Wednesday, that time of week to hear what you have to say.

I talked to ProPublica reporter Jesse Eisinger a couple of days ago about how Standard & Poors is still having problems getting their credit ratings right. Toxic bonds that got those triple-A ratings were part of what led to the whole financial collapse.

Alexander Rahman of Raleigh, N.C., thinks we let the bond rating agencies off way too easy.

Alexander Rahman: You guys missed the point of the possibility of collusion between the issuing agencies and the credit rating agencies. The impact that this has had on the world economy deserves more than, see the credit agents didn’t even understand it. They should all be indicted for fraud, collusion, and conspiracy and held accountable.

The American Economic Association convened last week for its annual meeting. There was some talk about, but no firm vote, on an economists’ code of ethics. Annie Lowrey from Slate pointed us toward some research showing economists tend to make more selfish choices.

Which prompted this from Zoe Plakias, a graduate student in economics at the University of California, Davis.

Zoe Plakias: She did not acknowledge the possibility that all economists study some game theory, and thus they know the theoretical outcome of the game and strategize accordingly.

So, they know the point of the games and that changes how they play. Zoe also doesn’t buy the argument that economists shouldn’t write about groups that give them money.

Plakias: Much economic research is funded through grants, and some of these grants come from industries or government entities. This does not mean an economist was somehow bribed.

We got a lot of enthusiastic responses after a commentary by Marissa Mayer from Google last week. She proudly defended being a girl geek. Lorie Johnson of Little Rock, Ark., is a self-proclaimed nerd as well, but she says there’s another point to be made here.

Lorie Johnson: Our puzzlement over the whole Oh my God! Girl! thing. It’s the guy geeks that seem to make a lot of fuss over it. We don’t! We’re women! So, what? Get over it, guys — we have problems to solve.

You can geek out over our show anytime. We won’t judge you. Send us your thoughts on Facebook and Twitter.

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