Our Kids Have No Economic Immune Systems

Source: American Institute for Economic Research
by Michael Munger

“The sanitation or ‘hygiene hypothesis’ holds that humans need environmental adversity for our immune systems to mature and function normally. The ‘Old Friends’ corollary holds that a variety of ‘helminths’ — tiny parasitic worms, whose eggs have been found in human feces for the past five thousand years, at least — temper and absorb the ferocity of our immune systems. The absence of schmutz in our lives — an excess of hygiene — has caused an explosion of autoimmune disorders and disabling allergies. … There is some evidence that this ‘hygiene hypothesis’ explains much of the dissatisfaction many young people have with capitalism. While it’s true that America’s education establishment has been taken over by economically illiterate ideologues, something in the mindset of young people of the past two generations has made them think that capitalism is not (just) immoral, but terrifyingly dangerous.” (06/05/24)