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Economists Are the New Astrologers

Accepted submission by Anonymous Coward at 2017-08-29 07:32:46 from the A Star To Guide Us dept.

"When Christopher Nolan was promoting his previous film Interstellar, he made the casual observation that “Take a field like economics for example. [Unlike physics] you have real material things and it can’t predict anything. It’s always wrong.” There is a lot more truth in that statement than most academic economists would like to admit."

"[S]everal famous Keynesian and neo-classical economists, including Paul Romer, ... criticized the “Mathiness in the Theory of Economic Growth” and ... Paul Krugman. In this instance,... mostly correct observing that “As I see it, the economics profession went astray because economists, as a group, mistook beauty, clad in impressive-looking mathematics, for truth.”"

"Frank Shostak notes, “In the natural sciences, a laboratory experiment can isolate various elements and their movements. There is no equivalent in the discipline of economics. The employment of econometrics and econometric model-building is an attempt to produce a laboratory where controlled experiments can be conducted.”

The result is that economic forecasts are usually just wrong."

"[Levinovitz] approvingly quotes one economist saying “The interest of the profession is in pursuing its analysis in a language that’s inaccessible to laypeople and even some economists. What we’ve done is monopolise this kind of expertise.[…] that gives us power.”"

"[B]ecause economics models are mostly useless and cannot predict the future with any sort of certainty, then centrally directing an economy would be effectively like flying blind. The failure of economic models to pan out is simply more proof of the pretense of knowledge. And it’s not more knowledge that we need, it’s more humility. The humility to know that “wise” bureaucrats are not the best at directing a market " []

Original Submission