Tuesday, 15 September 2009

US economists

Slí Eile: Thank goodness for some US economists. 'saltwater economists'.
I see Paul Krugman, writing in the New York Times (I notice that NYT has just restricted access to subscribers ...), has lots to say about how we got here and where we should go from here. As a result a petition is being organised - online - to back his case. In a previous blog I discussed the role of ideology in economics. It can apply anywhere. Krugman said:

"Few economists saw our current crisis coming, but this predictive failure was the least of the field’s problems. More important was the profession’s blindness to the very possibility of catastrophic failures in a market economy ... the economics profession went astray because economists, as a group, mistook beauty, clad in impressive-looking mathematics, for truth ... economists fell back in love with the old, idealized vision of an economy in which rational individuals interact in perfect markets, this time gussied up with fancy equations ... Unfortunately, this romanticized and sanitized vision of the economy led most economists to ignore all the things that can go wrong. They turned a blind eye to the limitations of human rationality that often lead to bubbles and busts; to the problems of institutions that run amok; to the imperfections of markets – especially financial markets – that can cause the economy’s operating system to undergo sudden, unpredictable crashes; and to the dangers created when regulators don’t believe in regulation. ... When it comes to the all-too-human problem of recessions and depressions, economists need to abandon the neat but wrong solution of assuming that everyone is rational and markets work perfectly." (New York Times, September 6th, 2009.)"

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