More on autism and economics

At the intersection of autism and economics there have been some unfortunate choices of terminology. Happily, the people behind that have changed the name of their house organ from “Post-autistic Economic Review” to “Real-World Economic Review.” [A post in a now-defunct blog], tells us the following:

Most stick to their positions, even in the face of intense social pressure, and their values aren’t shaped by financial, social, or political influences.

“Aren’t” sounds like it might be an over-generalization; even something that could be inferred as a guarantee. A flattering stereotype is still a stereotype. I would nevertheless be willing to stick my neck out far enough to suggest that autistic persons, on average, are harder to buy off. This seems counterintuitive given some estimates of an autistic adult unemployment rate north of 90%. If autistic people are under more financial pressure than most people, perhaps it is reasonable to believe they are more likely to be able to be bought off. This may be the case, but somehow it doesn’t seem to be the case. Wondering out loud, could it be that a certain relative guilelessness that might be associated with autistic folk, might be a large contributor to the shocking employment statistics? It seems a reasonable guess that companies choose employees not just for what they’re able to do, but what they’re willing to do. Could it be that having values that “aren’t [generally] shaped by financial, social, or political influences” makes one somewhat unemployable? It raises questions, like what percentage of employed people were hired specifically for what they’re willing to do? What percentage were hired mainly for that tendency, or partially, etc.—and how could one go about empirically testing such a hypothesis?

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5 Responses to More on autism and economics

  1. I don’t think that this estimate of unemployed autistics can be relied upon. Autistics who want to get employed and stay employed keep their autism to themselves. Many don’t get officially diagnosed on purpose because they don’t want to have to disclose it to anybody. Also, autism only started getting massively diagnosed very recently. Most of those who have been diagnosed are very young. That’s the group that generally suffers from the greatest unemployment.

    • n8chz says:

      With so many autistics under the radar, answers to these basic questions may well be impossible.

      • Lindsay says:

        Yeah, part of the reason those estimates run so high (which Joseph at Natural Variation pointed out some years ago) is because they’ve mostly been taken from state/national registries of people receiving disability services of some kind. People living in institutions or group homes tend to be strongly overrepresented, because they are the easiest to find data on.

      • n8chz says:

        Nobody knows how many wild aspies there are.

  2. n8chz says:

    Perhaps I was being insulting by even entertaining the possibility that integrity might be malleable in the face of poverty. Upon some careful thought, I’m inclined to believe you’re right in that it comes from a belief in money being below the value of character, not in an “orders of magnitude” way, but perhaps a “sacred vs. profane” way.

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