Thursday, August 5, 2010

Economists really ARE important

"The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than it is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually slaves of some defunct economist."
John Maynard Keynes

The past 35 years have seen the economics profession given the most powerful computing tools in history.  Instead of a great new day, however, economics is a now-thoroughly discredited profession.  The problem is they spent that time computerizing that great apologist for Predation, Alfred Marshall.  Predicting our current dilemmas from that information alone--especially the growing gap between rich and poor--was a lot like predicting dawn.
Economists Tell the Masses: "It Could Have Been Worse"
Dean Baker | August 3, 2010 - 10:44am
It is amazing that angry mobs have not risen up and chased all the economists out of the country. While the greed of the Wall Street gang provided the fuel for the bubble, the economists played an essential role as enablers. This was most directly true for economists in policymaking positions, like Alan Greenspan at the Fed.
It was Greenspan's job to stop the housing bubble. A competent and honest Fed chair would have recognized the bubble by 2002 and taken whatever steps were necessary to rein it in. And we should be 100 percent clear, in spite of all the song and dance about how the financial reform bill will prevent another bailout, the Fed absolutely had all the tools needed to stop this disaster. They just lacked either the competence or the integrity, or both.
But the economists in policymaking positions are just the beginning. There are thousands of macroeconomists across the country, in government, academia and private industry who track the economy as a full-time job. It is actually a well-paid job, with many drawing six-figure salaries and big name types getting close to $1 million a year.
Given the high pay for this profession, it was reasonable to expect that they would be able to see something like the $8 trillion housing bubble that eventually wrecked the economy when it collapsed. But you can count on your fingers the number of economists who raised warnings about the housing bubble. The rest either did not see it, or didn't think it worth mentioning.
Remarkably, no economists seem to have lost their jobs for this failing. Unlike dishwashers and custodians, economists are not held accountable for the quality of their work. more

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