Sunday, February 8, 2009

Stockholm Syndrome

This was an obscure reference for a macroeconomics class that you can read up on here.

That post details a number of uses, to which I’d add that I’ve heard of it used as a reason for why employees sympathize with bad managers, or even why children often retain attachments to their parents favorite sports team or even religious faith, in spite of evidence that it isn’t working for them.

In our case it was mentioned that people in poorer countries often claim that they don’t need the wide array of products frequently purchased in developed countries. This is in spite of the fact that many people in developed countries aren’t particularly free to leave the influence of governments that aren’t acting in their best interest. Their typical response after emmigration to a richer country is to maintain this sympathy for old ways for a time (just as victims continue to sympathize with their kidnappers) before adjusting.

This was an interesting idea to bring to the debate about macroeconomics and well-being, because proponents of growth limitation in developed countries often use this perception of people in developing countries to discourage growth there. The fact that it changes with the local macroeconomy suggests this is a very problematic view.

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