blogs: What _Is_ The Track Record of The Economists?

Economist Craig Newmark suggests that the discipline of economics recommends itself over other social sciences on the basis of its better “track record”.

But let’s take a closer look.  What we find is that much of the best economics has been work done by economists attempting to overcome the massively influential fallacies of other economists:  Adam Smith taking on merchantilist economists;  Keynes taking on the “Treasury” economists & A.C. Pigou;  Friedman taking on the Keynesian economists; Bohm-Bawerk taking on the Marxist economists.

You get the idea.

The best economists are constantly savings us from .. the economists.  And things are no different with the economics of Hayek.

Much of Hayek’s best work was exactly the same sort of thing.  Hayek taking on socialist economists — leading to his great papers on the division of knowledge and the price signaling function of relative prices.  Hayek taking on the “perfectly competitive market” economists and the formal equilibrium economists — leading to his great papers on competition as a discovery process.   Hayek taking on the Federal Reserve economists, Fisher, Foster & Catchings, Keynes, and the rest on price stability, monetary and business cycle theory — leading to his many books and papers on the microeconomics of production and consumption coordination across time — as well as those on the very foundations of economic science.

This is the stuff for which Hayek won the Nobel Prize.  And at the end of his career Hayek saw a profession that still “didn’t get it” — and which was still making terrible mess of things (Hayek’s words).

This entry was posted in Economics. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to blogs: What _Is_ The Track Record of The Economists?

  1. Of course, you could put it another way, and say that the capitalists are constantly trying to save us from the socialists, and that means they also have to save us from the government, which in turn means it’s a feverishly working minority trying to combat an ever self affirming minority, under ever more futile circumstances.

    It seems like all ambitions are created by the left, but their methods are always wrong. It seems that the right finds solutions almost entirely to combat the left.

    We are pretty close to coming up with a theory of human calculation that will show that there are ways we can produce liquidity and achieve some sort of redistribution, and some set of public services, probably in the libertarian model if we prosper, and in the despotic model if we don’t. But when we do figure it out, we’re going to find out, that in general, Hayek was right, and Mises was right, and that human beings require fairly rational money and prices in order to simply exist in the world. We simply cannot maintain a comprehension of the world around us, or plan to act in it without them. And the government, it’s management of money, and laws are the problem.

Comments are closed.