Category Archives: Off-Topic

Economists versus the Economy

This article misses the main problem with economists trying to predict, model, and “tune” the economy, asserting:

What unites the great economists, and many other good ones, is a broad education and outlook. This gives them access to many different ways of understanding the economy. The giants of earlier generations knew a lot of things besides economics. [..]
Today’s professional economists, by contrast, have studied almost nothing but economics. They don’t [sic] even read the classics of their own discipline.

This view believes that if only economists knew enough, they could single-handedly make the economy prosperous by creating just enough money out of thin air, or by setting interest rates just-so, or by setting precisely the policy that would make everything work right.

But this only emphasizes the guaranteed failure of centralized economics and monetary policy referred to earlier in the article:

So why did they miss the storm? This was exactly the question Queen Elizabeth of Britain asked a group of economists in 2008. Most of them wrung their hands. It was “a failure of the collective imagination of many bright people,” they explained.

Every failure of centralized planning is blamed on “the right people weren’t in charge.”

But that’s the essence of centralized failure – no single group will be as creative, responsive, or determined to succeed, as every single individual acting independently.  Individuals largely do what they think is best. As a whole they are surprisingly successful — unless the “many bright people” in charge keep changing the rules trying to control the outcome.

This is as true in a home, a community, a business, in a nation, and across the world.