Economists vs. Economics

Are economists ruining economics? Over at The American Spectator, I say why that may well be be the case. Key points:

  • Economists can’t even predict whether the stock market will go up or down tomorrow. Yet many economists tell everyone who will listen that they know how to solve the financial crisis and dig out of a near-global recession. No wonder people aren’t taking them as seriously as they used to.
  • Economics isn’t the problem. The economic way of thinking is as powerful a tool as any for understanding the world around us. But it has its limits. Too many economists have pretended away those limits out of hubris, or for political reasons.
  • Any economist saying he understands global business cycles when he can’t even understand the pencil poking out of his breast pocket is a charlatan. But the discipline he dishonors is as beautiful as poetry. Interested readers should take a look at Leonard Read’s classic short essay, “I, Pencil,” as a case in point.