The genetics of economics and economics of genetics are really freaky topics.
On the one hand, we spend most of our lives making economic decisions … how to spend time? money? affection? You know, “He’s cute, but has a lame job” and, “I feel like I’m getting a better deal at Five Guys because they give away the peanuts for free.” Genetic research seems to be “worth it” because variation in genetic data might underpin variation in economic behavior (particularly in the healthcare marketplace).
On the other hand, genetic data seems to have little or no economic face value. I mean, they are practically giving the data away at $100 for your SNP-ome and $1,000 for your full genome.
So it seems that consumers are now part of an experiment where they may freely access their personal genetic information and try to figure out how to use it in some sort of economically advantageous way. Meanwhile scientists can (with consent) meta-analytically track the genotypes of these consumers and discover what genotypes are associated with good economic decisions. It’s freaky. It’s fascinating. It’s big data. Whatever.
The downside to “consumer as guinea pig” is that the free marketplace is full of liars and exploiters, and will soon be awash in every sort of hokey “geno-” this and “geno-” and “g’s” fused with all sorts of words that begin with “en”. I mean, have you ever not been paralyzed in the salad dressing aisle? Do we really need “specially formulated for rs1234567 AA” geno-dressings?
Which is why I really think anyone who describes himself as a genoeconomist and founder of a gentrepreneurship consortium, really needs to take it down a couple of notches. This type of self-branding is what the liars and exploiters do.
Hundreds of millions of people are desperately looking for work. The liars and exploiters have wrecked the global economy for decades to come. People are suffering. The publication of meta-analytic studies that show that self-employment, while somewhat heritable, is a complex polygenic trait (um, no shit) feels to me like an insensitive slap in the face to people who are unemployed through no fault of their own.