Via Matthew Yglesias we get this spittle from an academic economist. He’s actually a professor at George Mason University in Virginia.
The ease with which he disses Nobel-Prize winners astonishes. I mean, who the hell is Donald Boudreux? He writes:
This Keynesian explanation is adolescent. Lazily identifying the symptom as the underlying problem, Keynesians then craft a “theory” that shows just how inadequate spending can in fact cause inadequate spending. How clever of them!
It’s understandable that many people untutored in economics fall for this nonsense. Just as many untutored in geography naturally think the Earth is flat (looks that way, doesn’t it?), many untutored in economics, upon seeing businesses closing up and workers being laid off, conclude that the problem is inadequate spending (looks that way, doesn’t it?).
Well, as Yglesias points out, such luminaries as Krugman, Stiglitz, Summers, and even Milton Friedman fell “for this nonsense.” Which brings me to a larger discussion.
Economists desperately crave recognition as scientists. Yet, the fact that they cannot agree on fundamental theories or, gosh, facts, should deeply disturb the Rest of Us. We’re hurting, and the profession is arguing the equivalent of how many angels can dance on a pin.
UPDATE (Sep. 13, 2011):
As I was saying…
Via Noahopinion I found this piece apropos of the above. I should apologize, on one hand, for my broadside against economists. The author, “Sean,” tells us that the social sciences are “harder” than the natural sciences. I agree, in this respect: economists or sociologists or anthropologists have difficult research subjects, namely us. We are a confounding species, subject to both passion and reason. Thus, we are not all that predictable. Or at least that’s what the economists are discovering.
On the other hand, I’d encourage social scientists to be much more humble and circumspect in their opinions. And I really don’t care how much math you have in your model; you’re still stuck with homo sapiens.
So my advice to economists who want more respect from the outside world would be: make it much more clear to the non-expert public that you have a reliable, agreed-upon set of non-obvious discoveries that your field has made about the world. People have tried to lay out such discoveries, of course — but upon closer inspection they don’t quite measure up to Newton’s Laws in terms of reliability and usefulness.
You know, we’re in really deep do-do.