The comedy isn’t in the book’s premise, but in this summation/promotional quote:
“[Frank’s] arguments are carefully crafted and artfully presented to make the case that since we’re in the business of designing society from top down anyway we might as well go whole hog and do it right.”
—Michael Shermer, author of the Mind of the Market
Ha! While the statement “we’re in the business of designing society from top down” is true, that isn’t any basis of evolution. By invoking Darwin’s name, we should infer that Frank implies bottom-up ‘engineering’ (my ignorance of Darwin’s theories notwithstanding).
Unless, of course, you think a deity orchestrates the successes & failures of mutations in individual organisms that succeed or fail to pass their genes along for the greater good (in this case, government, which isn’t a bad thing in terms of economics).
By applying evolutionary theory to economics, author Robert H. Frank might be on to something. That is, if I didn’t want to rewrite Shakespeare’s (oft misinterpreted) “Kill all the lawyers” into “Kill all the economists.” Really, at least lawyers know the law (the basis of the quote) – economists know sweet fuck all.
In the meantime, way to doublethink, Mr. Shermer!