… and disband their departments
The honourable Alan Greenspan testifies before the House Financial Services Committee. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
[My silence for some time here has been mainly because I was focussed on re-packaging my economic ideas in a form that might gain more traction. So, there is a new book manuscript of the above title. It will help to promote it (to publishers) if I have readers’ reactions. Therefore, if you will undertake to give me feedback, I will supply you with the draft MS (120 pages, 2.2 Mb pdf). You don’t have to be expert, it’s for a general audience and so I want feedback from that audience. Most helpful to me will be comments on its readability and interest. Of course any discussion of its arguments are also welcome.]
Here is the first part of the introductory chapter. I will post more in a few days.
Chapter 1. Economists Don’t Know What They’re Talking About
In 1994 Paul Ormerod published a book called The Death of Economics1. He argued economists don’t know what they’re talking about. In 2001 Steve Keen published a book called Debunking Economics: the naked emperor of the social sciences2, with a second edition in 2011 subtitled The naked emperor dethroned?3. Keen also argued economists don’t know what they’re talking about.
Neither of these books, nor quite a few others, has had the desired effect. Mainstream economics has sailed serenely on its way, declaiming, advising, berating, sternly lecturing, deciding, teaching, pontificating. Meanwhile half of Europe and many regions and groups in the United States are in depression, and fascism is making a comeback. The last big depression spawned Hitler. This one is promoting Golden Dawn in Greece and similar extremist movements elsewhere. In the anglophone world a fundamentalist right-wing ideology is enforcing an increasingly narrow political correctness centred on “free” markets and the right of the rich to do and say whatever they like. “Freedom”, but only for some and without responsibility.
Evidently Ormerod and Keen were too subtle. It’s true their books also get a bit technical at times, especially Keen’s, but then they were addressing the profession, trying to bring it to its senses, to reform it from the inside. That seems to have been their other mistake. They produced example after example of how mainstream ideas fail, but still they had no effect. I think the message was addressed to the wrong audience, and was just too subtle. Economics is naked and dead, but never mind the stink, just prop up the corpse and carry on.