With thanks to Lars P Syll for this argument about how far we should go to make economic models. He concludes:
It is better to be vaguely right than precisely wrong
Denicolò and Zanchettin, in an article published by the prestigious Economic Journal, claim to have shown among other things that “stronger patent protection may reduce innovation and growth.” As a…
Source: Economics vs. reality
The euro — gold cage of our time | LARS P. SYLL
The euro has taken away the possibility for national governments to manage their economies in a meaningful way — and in Greece the people has had to pay the true costs of its concomita…
Source: The euro — gold cage of our time | LARS P. SYLL
The real limit of public debt
Everything we know is not just wrong – it’s backwards. When banks make loans, they create money. This is because money is really just an IOU. The role of the central bank is to preside over a…
Source: The real limit of public debt
Sometimes I come across something that makes me wonder. This is one of those somethings. Perhaps bankers bonuses exist because they can get them, not because they help make banks more profitable?
Diane Coyle has an excellent article in the FT about an apparent puzzle. Why do executives get incentive bonuses (extra pay on meeting some target), but most workers do not? Her article is based ar…
Source: The bonus puzzle | LARS P. SYLL
The International Monetary Fund is reviewing its framework for judging whether countries have a debt crisis. But currently, the huge hidden costs of public-private partnerships are not included.
Source: Tell the IMF to count the cost of public-private partnerships – Jubilee Debt Campaign UK
Just had to reference this article from Economia – the magazine for Chartered Accountants.
It starts off by saying that economists only get things right about 4 times out of 10. If I have read the grade boundaries issued by one of the exam boards correctly that would have been enough to get a grade F at GCSE economics units 11 and 12. And if we use the lower mark “3 or 4 times” offered later in the article it is barely even enough for a grade G.
It then goes on to say economics is not a black and white science – but then what is? Even the physics of light has to take account of colour.
The profession is likened to a sports coach who cannot guarantee a win even by putting out the best team possible. Except that economists do not seem to get the sack for repeated poor performance.
Or economists should be likened to medics who would not be able to predict when you are going to get ill but should be able to advise you how to get better. Except that economists do not seem to be able to agree on a course of treatment – should we spend our way out of recession or should we cut back on public expenditure to balance the books. Or should we do a George Osborne and try a bit of both – cut back on public expenditure till it hurts and still borrow more.
And then the article talks about the benefit of hindsight giving us 20/20 vision. But again I am not sure that it does, as economists don’t seem to be able to agree whether they should have been expected to predict the 2008 financial crisis.
But perhaps I am biased in my thinking that economics is not science if we follow the Oxford dictionaries definition:
The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment
It is included as a social science:
The scientific study of human society and social relationships
which attempts to use scientific methodology but is severely limited because it is not easy (or even legal) to experiment on human society and relationships – so that it is limited to observation without being able to test any theories about how economics works.
OK this is not just about the debt crisis but…
Professor Noam Chomsky talks about Europe’s refugee crisis and the Greek debt drama in an exclusive interview.
Europe is torn apart as there is no end to the arrival of ever greater number of refugees and migrants, while many European countries, especially in the south, continue facing severe economic problems such as unacceptable unemployment levels, high debt-to-GDP ratios, and increasing poverty and exclusion for their youths.
What does the world’s leading public intellectual, renowned MIT linguist, philosopher and social critic Noam Chomsky, author of over 100 books and thousands of articles, think about current developments in Europe?
Source: Noam Chomsky on Europe’s Refugee Crisis and the Endless Greek Debt Drama | GreekReporter.com
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