The 9/11 values of a development economist

With all the hatred, mistrust, and conflict associated with today's date, it's a good time for a development economist to describe his  or her values. I believe that all humans are created equal, that they have inalienable rights, which include freedom of speech, freedom of religon, and freedom from persecution because of race or religion.

That includes not persecuting members of a religion because some OTHER members of that religion have done evil.

Why do I believe in these values? Is it because these values promote development? I think they do, they promote the kind of peaceful cooperation through trade and investment that creates prosperity, as opposed to the destructive effects of war and terrorism. But that's not why I hold these values, and I doubt hardly anyone else holds values based on econometric relationships between values and development.

You could even say that values chosen for material reasons are not real values at all. It's more like pretending to be in love so you can marry a millionaire.

So while it might seem attractive to argue for values of tolerance to promote prosperity rather than violence, it's a potential trap if we are going to leave it up to econometrics to choose our values for us.

So let's all just reassert individual freedom, tolerance, and mutual respect for all, not because it's good for development, but because it's right.