Mark Twain once said:
If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.
Things have not changed since Mr. Twain’s day regarding newspapers. More fields than news reporting now appear incompetent or deliberately deceptive. The economics profession would likely find itself the target of Twain’s acerbic wit. If he were still alive today, Twain quite likely would adapt the above observation thusly:
If you don’t listen to economists, you are uninformed; if you do, you are misinformed.
The comments below from Simon Black are stronger than Twain’s:
I’ve just finished Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz’s new book The Price of Inequality in which he writes something that may be the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard from an economist:
“[T]he success of [Apple and Google], and indeed the viability of our entire economy, depends heavily on a well-performing public sector. There are creative entrepreneurs all over the world. What makes a difference. . . is the government.”
Yes, in the eyes of our most decorated ‘scientists’, the brilliance and guile of Ingvar Kamprad, Sam Walton, Ray Kroc, Asa Candler, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, and millions of others are far less important than an effective government bureaucracy.
His entire book, in fact, is an impassioned argument for even more government control and redistribution of wealth. Right… because it’s been working so well.
These ideas are totally absurd. Yet this what passes as science today. And because it’s science, society simply believes it to be true.
No doubt, people in the future will look back, and they’ll wonder… but they won’t understand one bit.
Mr. Stiglitz seems to be in agreement with President Obama’s notion that individuals do not become successful because of effort or motivation.
With the death of Paul Samuelson, it is likely that Professor Stiglitz is the best economist the physics profession has produced. Or, perhaps the best physicist the economics profession has produced might be more appropriate.
Regardless, what Mr. Stiglitz claims is not the way that I see the world. Nor is it consistent with anyone oriented toward markets and human behavior.