Politicians like it when economists disagree because then they can safely ignore the ones they dislike


Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/04/13/useful-disagreement.html


Economics, more so than most disciplines (even other social sciences!) seems vulnerable to ideology. There’s not much you can do to falsify a significantly large economic hypothesis, so people can just float 'em out and let whoever likes 'em pick 'em up.

This is, to a certain degree, true in many social sciences (and even a bit in the hard sciences sometimes!) but the “big impact” of economics seems especially subject to this kind of “I’m right according to this guy’s ideas!” cherry-picking.


Economics is ideology, not science. Just in my adult life, I’ve seen multiple cases where most respected economists were completely, 100% wrong in their predictions, but none of them seem to have scrapped their theories and started looking for new ones. In any actual science, that many practitioners being empirically wrong about something would lead to a huge shakeup.


Hey, they only need 1% of scientists to disagree on climate. They don’t even really have to be scientists!


Why are Economics final exams so easy to make?

Becasue the professor doesn’t have to change the questions from year to year. Just the answers.



Austerity…Trickle down economics…Free market…


bloggers like it when regulars disagree, because then they can safely ban them.

to make it on topic…

Politicians don’t give a fuck about opposition unless said opposition is strong enough to remove them from power. Politicians ignore all advice except the ones that line their pocket.




It probably doesn’t help the most visible parts of ‘economics’ either are fairly explicit policy prescriptions; or are theoretical observations that can be relatively easily converted into policy prescriptions.

The people doing stuff too arcane and math heavy to be boiled down into executive summaries and batteries of talking points by think tank flacks don’t get much attention; because arcane and math heavy work rarely does(unless it has a big science machine, like the LHC, or some other thing that the popularizers can write about); and the people attempting to apply economic theory on their own account, or for their job have a much more direct incentive to adjust their theories to reality; but also have little reason to provide the competition with useful information; or talk about their work(You probably don’t last long at the trading desk through blinkered embrace of deeply incorrect theories about how the value of whatever you are trading changes over time, since that gets expensive; but any failure there will go largely unnoticed; and any success may involve some self-promotion; but doesn’t provide much incentive to provide such valuable data to others).


Where is that from? I have to know!


It’s not a bad movie. :slight_smile:


It’s from an animated movie from Aardman. It’s called The Pirates! Band of Misfits.


I see that @M_M beat me to it, good show


Thanks! Have a nice weekend!


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