Why did economists fail us in this crisis?

A number of writers have recently pointed out that economists have failed the people of the world in the current economic crisis in that they failed to predict it and appear unable to offer viable solutions.

Most of these critics, including this one, don’t appreciate the seriousness of the situation and are not themselves radical enough.  Criticizing austerity and promoting stimulus is hardly an economic intellectual revolution as this writer suggests.  Nor is forecasting necessarily the most important part of economics.

As I see it the problem with economics is that the role of economists is not to solve economic problems but to provide theological or moral legitimacy to our economic activity.    Their role is to tell us our economic activity is creating wealth even thought we are really using up scarce resources and destroying the world we value so much.

It could be that most of us are to blame for this economic weakness.  Most of us don’t want to hear that there will be no more economic growth because the implications are extremely painful.

To deal with the crisis the first thing is to recognize that economic growth has come to an end in part because we have used up the most easily accessible resources.  I would also suggest that economics is mostly about the human relationships involved in exchanging goods and services.

If economists are  going to help us cope with current problems they need to study how to cope with negative growth and the type of relationships this will involve.


If you liked this post your are invited to comment, press the like button and/or click  one of the share buttons. If you disagree you are invited to say why in a comment.  While I like the idea of sharing this platform, my personality is such that I don’t reply to many comments.


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