Monday, September 13, 2010

Economics as lame theology

Yes, the study economics is a spin-off of the subject of moral philosophy.  And Yes, religion often has a great deal to say about the subject of economics and social organization.  So to accuse economics of merely being a low-proof religion is to often state the obvious.  But here are some excellent examples.  The first refers to worshipping false gods.
9 Ways That Gold Is A Religion Masquerading As An Asset Class
Joe Weisenthal | Sep. 10, 2010 
Gold remains close to its all-time high, as fears over government money printing, solvency, and general economic fears make the shiny yellow metal more popular than ever.
Experts recommend that you have a substantial chunk of your investments in this asset class.
But gold is not an asset class.
It's a religion.
Here's why. more
And then there is the problem of following false prophets.  There are essentially two ways to understand the world.  1) Find a set of teachings that explain "everything" (religion, philosophy, etc.) that you really like and study the creed in detail.  2) Find a set of instructions that lets you constantly refine and update your worldview as new evidence rolls in--this approach includes the scientific method and Evolutionary Economics.

The problem with Kudlow is that he thinks like a classic group #1 guy.  He "knows" there is something wrong with folks like Keynes but he isn't sure why but folks he trusts dislike Keynes.  Of course, the real problem is that Keynes was a textbook example of a Group #2 guy and this is so far outside of Kudlow's thinking, it could well have been written in Sanskrit on Mars.
12 Keynesian Insights To Blow The Mind Of Larry Kudlow
Elliot Turner, Wall St. Cheat Sheet | Sep. 10, 2010
Recently Larry Kudlow has been outlining his 12 Step Plan to Free Market Prosperity and both implicitly and explicitly unleashing a tirade against Keynesianism, as if Keynesianism is the cause in fact of the problem. 
What makes this incredibly ironic is that in 2007, as the economy started cratering in dramatic fashion, Larry Kudlow was applauding the “free market” initiatives undertaken over the preceding decade, while naively proclaiming that:
The recession debate is over. It’s not gonna happen. Time to move on.
At a bare minimum, we are looking at Goldilocks 2.0. (And that’s a minimum). The Bush boom is alive and well. It’s finishing up its sixth splendid year with many more years to come.
It’s easy to misappropriate the blame for our present predicament having missed the trouble as it unfolded. Kudlow has a habit of asserting the Keynesian roots of the crisis, yet I think it’s clear that Kudlow has never read Keynes, much like some of the other “experts” out there who have made a living on deriding Keynesian economics (check out this on Richard Posner’s conversion from the Chicago School to Keynesianism, in which he admitted to never having read Keynes until the depths of the financial crisis). more

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