Friday, January 23, 2009

Don't Blame Megan

the one armed man did it.

But not that long ago we had a lot of pretty good theories from very smart economists about how this sort of financial crisis couldn't really happen again in the first place.
This failure by Friedmanites, Hayekians, and other Randroids clearly shows that Keynesian theory is wrong. We, in the form of the government, shouldn't try to help people during these crises, because people like Megan who are ideologically opposed to the effort will find a way to fuck it up. The mere existence of Keynesian theory is what caused these crises, not the people who were in charge of our economic institutions over the last decade or so.

And remember, the fact that she was wrong just makes Megan an even bigger expert than that Krugman guy.


M. Bouffant said...

Seriously, when the fug will "economics" be relegated to the dust-bin of history, & treated w/ the same respect given to gypsy fortune-tellers & psychic readers working out of store-fronts?

spencer said...

I don't think that's quite fair, M. All economics is - according to its practitioners - is the study of how humans allocate scarce resources. That can be time, votes, or money, which is the most popular resource for economists to study because it's the easiest to track. This is undeniably a worthwhile topic for someone to study and understand.

The problem is that economics as it is actually practiced is critically flawed in a couple of ways. First, many, if not most, economists are irrationally attached to 18th-century engineering math as their primary professional tool. Personally, I think that's because if you want to do economics math correctly, you'd have to start using mathematical concepts that are just way beyond the intellectual reach of most economists (and, needless to say, yours truly as well).

Second, the field seems to attract intellectually dishonest cranks who understand just enough about differential equations and calculus to look like they know what they're talking about, especially in the eyes of the 99 percent of the American population that has never even tried to solve a calc problem. These people exploit the old "appeal to authority" fallacy to the hilt, and eventually intimidate the non-math-savvy into letting them have their way.

The "intellectual dishonest" part is key, because it explains why they never let it bother them when pesky facts contradict their pet ideologies. Really, the problem isn't economics - it's the damn economists. Put them to work sanitizing telephones and get a whole new crop of people in there to remake the discipline. It's the only way it can be saved.

And it should be saved, IMO.

M. Bouffant said...

Well, you have some nerve refuting my juvenile rant. How dare you?

But I wish you good luck re-inventing your profession. Ya think "disappearing" a few of 'em would shake things up a bit?

Mr. Wonderful said...

I finished Atlas Shrugged. The whole thing.

Kneel before Zog. Then help him to obtain psychiatric help.

Anonymous said...

People are going to disagree over competing economic theories just as they do in all the social sciences. The difficulty is that the economists with influence are those that are the best financed, and who is better able to afford to spend millions supporting an ideological infrastructure of economists to pushing their pet theories: the poor and middle class, or the wealthy, the big corporations, and Wall Street?

spencer said...

Oh, it ain't my profession anymore, M. I couldn't stand the culture, y'know?