Perhaps the most tragic falsehood promulgated by economic theory is the idea that people everywhere are mutually interchangeable agents. [Update: that’s not a fair characterization of economic theory, see comments.] That other falsehood of them being rational agents — well, there’s a whole cottage industry centered on knocking it down, Nobel prizes and all. But try to speak out against the former falsehood, and you’re in crimethink territory.
Hyper-rational stupid-smart people fall for for this all the time. “Copy and paste from Singapore’s healthcare setup. Copy and paste from Estonia’s e-government setup.” When Eliezer Yudkowsky gives that as a response to a hypothetical King of the World to-do list, we can write it off as comedy. When the Atlantic suggests that What’s Wrong With American Schools is Not Enough Equality — just copy-paste from Finland, guys! — we are well into farcical (and even tragic) territory.
PTT not being a data blog, I won’t bother looking up the number of Finnish teachers annually assaulted by their students. The US numbers tend to kind of, er, hit you in the face — but don’t you dare talk about it, racist. And I’ll bet the Finnish numbers, whatever they are, are negligible by comparison. So sorry to disappoint you, o Brahmins from the Atlantic: copy-pasting from ethnically homogenous Finland won’t solve America’s diverse problems. Taking the red pill is a necessary starting step.