I’ve been gone for two weeks and have a lot of catching-up to do, but thought I’d begin with something most recent. You’ve heard me claim that there are no political solutions to our slow-motion economic demise because our political leaders simply hand over economic policy to some economist who, invariably, regardless of whether they subscribe to the philosophies of Keynes or Hayek, are pro-growth and lean heavily on population growth to achieve it. Only by opening the eyes of economists can there be any hope for real change.
So I’m especially fond of any writings that take the field of economics to task. The above-linked editorial appeared on Reuters a couple of days ago. (And I especially love the opportunity to be the first to comment!) In this piece, the author, Anatole Kaletsky, calls for “… new thinking about politics and not just economics.” He begins with a quote from economist John Maynard Keynes:
The ideas of economists, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed, the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually slaves of some defunct economist.
I couldn’t have said it any better. The world is ruled not by politicial leaders but by economists. It’s a scary thought when you realize that economics isn’t a real science at all, but something more akin to philosophy, mixed with a little psychology and some mathematical expressions of theories to lend it credibility – theories virtually devoid of facts and data to support them. Real sciences are rooted in data, and real scientists go unafraid wherever the data takes them. That’s why technology advances at breakneck speed while our economy limps along the edge of a precipice. Scientists examine all possibilities. Economists bury their heads in the sand, cowering in the face of criticism and unwilling to ponder where their single-minded devotion to growth may lead.