Interview with David George, Ph.D.
1. What first made you want to study economics?
I decided to study economics when I first started coming up with metapreferences which was a very neat idea. I got into it from philosophy and a political standpoint, but it was that idea of whether people chose rationally.
2. Why do you believe that economics is an important subject to study/learn?
Well I think economists’ ways of analyzing issues and arriving at solutions are a great skill that can be very useful and easily applied to all aspects of life. It allows you to have a good grasp on the situation or problems at hand.
It’s also an important subject because the substance of economics is everywhere. Economics is in the making of things. It’s in the power relations. It’s the fabric and the way society organizes in general. It's fascinating how it spills over to all other subjects and aspects of life.
3. Describe in detail your current research.
I just got started preparing to write a book on the rhetoric of economics. I did some papers about 15 years ago on what the motivating factor is when choosing to use certain words in economics. Economists don’t recognize that word choice has a great influence on how we are understood by the general public. On my book I will start by looking at some of the major historical changes in language and how these changes have affected the way the public sees and understands economics. I will look at the language used in newspapers since it is one of the main places from where the public receives information about the economy.
4. Professionally, what accomplishment are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of my work on the creation of taste and market failure. On this subject I published a book titled Preferences Pollution: How Markets Create the Desires We Dislike in 2001. It demonstrates how society is not doing a good job in shaping our tastes.
5. Professionally, what would you still like to pursue?
I wish to write a book on the rhetoric of economics, as well as to continue to teach and write. I find it gratifying to be writing stuff that is widely accessible to all people.
6. What continues to make teaching a satisfying experience for you and why?
I believe that teaching is satisfying as long as you don't get tired of the ideas. And for me the more you teach them, the more they’re a mystery. With every year you teach, students raise more questions and have different ways of viewing the topics, so they keep teaching interesting for me. It’s also fun to get students to like a subject. Teaching them is one thing, captivating them another.
I disagree with the stereotype of professors that don’t like to teach and just do research. I believe they complement each other. Students are my main source of inspiration for topics to do research on, and I share my knowledge gained from my researches in class. One really good thing about being at La Salle is that I can do both. There’s a chance for mutual inspiration.
7. Of all the organizations you are in, which do you enjoy the most and why?
That would be the Association for Social Economics. I was its President just two years ago. ASE is a Catholic association for social justice, and we look at different current economic topics. What I like most about it is that we discuss important ethical issues of today.
8. Besides economics what other subjects interest you the most?
I’m interested in philosophy, psychology and history. I like to read politics, and everyone’s political interests. I also enjoy classical music-especially opera from the 19th century-like Beethoven and such. I enjoy traveling very much as well. If possible I would love to one day travel all over Europe and maybe even the whole world.
9. Outside of the classroom, what activities or hobbies do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy driving everywhere. I like going on long drives and just viewing the passing scene. I find it serene. I also love going out to eat at different restaurants. I don’t have one favorite type of food; I like all types of food. As for sports, I’m a great fan of Detroit and Michigan football.