Why Economists Should Learn Some Humility

Ben Cohen
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An excellent article on the dubious preeminence of Economists in modern society. From Simon Jenkins in the Guardian:

So the Footsie has tumbled again. Forgive me for asking, but where
are the economists? As the nation approaches recession, an entire
profession seems to have vanished over the horizon, like conmen stuffed
with cash, and thousands left destitute behind. They said recessions
were over. They told politicians to leave things to them and all would
be fine. Yet they failed to spot the sub-prime housing crash, and now
look at the mess.

When I studied economics we were told we would
be masters of the universe. Ours was not a dismal but a noble science.
It had harnessed the verities of maths to those of human behaviour and
would go on to conquer politics. Rampant recession would go the way of
hyperinflation. Like leprosy and cholera, they were epidemics that
modern medicine had rid from our shores.

It did not matter if the
economists were welfare Keynesians such as Myrdal, Robinson and
Galbraith or free-marketeers such as Marshall, Friedman and the
Institute of Economic Affairs. All were "social scientists". They
claimed to have cracked the DNA of economic exchange, to have turned
the base metal of money into political gold. Continue....