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The Urgent Need for an Economics of “Hategoatism”


  • Payson, Steven


The word “scapegoat” is defined as “a person made to bear the blame for others,” and similarly, “scapegoatism” refers to “the act or practice of assigning blame or failure to another, as to deflect attention or responsibility away from oneself” (Collins English Dictionary and, respectively.) While these definitions do not mention economics specifically, in most cases the blame on the scapegoat is economic in nature. Scapegoatism also provides a convenient, though extremely inferior, substitute for valid analyses of economic problems. Scapegoatism, however, has a partner, dehumanization, which is the process of demonizing certain people as less than human and unworthy of humane treatment. Scapegoatism is not only accompanied by dehumanization, but it is often motivated by it. Thus, “scapegoatism” is a euphemism and it is understudied as a result, because there is no single term of art that combines scapegoatism and dehumanization. This paper offers a solution to this semantic dilemma by proposing the new term, “HATEGOATISM,” for the simultaneous existence of scapegoatism and dehumanization. Only one subfield of economics regularly embraces hategoatism, which is Libertarianism (where the “HATEGOAT” is government workers). Economists must lead by example by combating hategoatism, and that requires cleaning their own house first.

Suggested Citation

  • Payson, Steven, 2019. "The Urgent Need for an Economics of “Hategoatism”," GLO Discussion Paper Series 365, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:365

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Klein, Daniel, 2004. "The People’s Romance: Why People Love Government (as much as they do)," Ratio Working Papers 31, The Ratio Institute, revised 11 May 2005.
    2. Payson Steven, 2019. "Cite This Economics Paper! It Is Time for the House of Cards to Fall Down," Open Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-18, January.
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    More about this item


    scapegoat; Libertarianism; hate; discrimination; prejudice; government; ethics; economics; labor; blame; fairness; responsibility; economists; demonization; dehumanization;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • B25 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary; Austrian; Stockholm School
    • B53 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Austrian
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H12 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Crisis Management
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J17 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Value of Life; Foregone Income
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • P16 - Political Economy and Comparative Economic Systems - - Capitalist Economies - - - Capitalist Institutions; Welfare State
    • P17 - Political Economy and Comparative Economic Systems - - Capitalist Economies - - - Performance and Prospects
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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