John Maynard Keynes once said:
“Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.”
While true, it doesn’t go far enough. The problem isn’t simply defunct economists or “scribblers of a few years back.”
We are in the grip of economists who, far from being defunct, hold great power. Whether they hear voices in the air (or Twitter), I can’t say, but they are indeed madmen in authority.
Not all economists are in that category. Many provide valuable insight or are at worst harmless. They don’t pretend they can change human nature or prevent the inevitable.
Unfortunately, some economists do believe those things. Worse, they are in places from which they can wreak havoc, and they are.
Last weekend I received two emails referring me to articles about the economics profession that stirred my writing juices.
I don’t agree with everything in the articles. They are, however, important because they try, at least, to describe and possibly fix the problem Keynes identified.
We have to address them, not just economically but politically. We can’t just put our heads in the sand and think this will go away.
The whole debt bubble, the income and wealth inequality angst, a growing deficit which will get worse after the next recession, and lack of economic understanding among voters is all coming home to roost.
Better to think about that now, while we can still act and maybe even change things.
The first item is a July 2019 TED talk by Nick Hanauer, a self-described Seattle “plutocrat” who founded and sold several companies.
…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…