Home Forum Political Economy “The Superiority of Economists”

  • Creator
  • #248413

    I found this to be an interesting paper. It’s been around a while now (from 2014). People may have seen it before. Of course, the title is ironic. In my rather limited and layperson experience, I find that orthodox economists think that their profession has no foundational ontological problems and also no serious epistemological problems; even though they can make no reliable predictions from any of their theory.

    “The Superiority of Economists” – Marion Fourcade, Etienne Ollion, and Yann Algan.



    My own thoughts are that it’s impossible to argue with anyone who won’t question their own ontological assumptions and who won’t subject them to scientific investigation where and so far as scientific investigations of the assumptions are possible. The orthodox economics profession fits this bill. It’s a pseudo-science with a false ontology at base. There’s an old quip to the effect that “Religion is blik.”  Orthodox economics is blik too. The arrogance in the profession exists in inverse proportion to the science content of it. There are exceptions, reasonable people who engage and who are genuinely concerned about “left” concerns; equality, sustainability and so on. But the deeper one delves, the more one finds even in these people the absolute certainty that their profession has a totally firm and unquestionable base and that they (economists) are intellectually superior to all other persons and professions.

    The question, at a personal and a citizen level is how to deal with such people. Complete disengagement seems the only option: complete refusal to engage as engagement will always be on the premises and grounds they set and these grounds will always be unquestionable: very much like dealing with a religious fundamentalist. Depowering orthodox economists manifests as a problem twinned to that of depowering capital itself. The problem seems intractable but history shows systems seem unchangeable until they suddenly and almost inexplicably collapse. I’m firmly of the opinion that COVID-19 is / will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Capitalism has completely failed to answer this challenge and has abandoned its population to endless and worsening pandemics, plural. A great number of other pathogens and pandemics will now leverage off SARS2’s insidious and profound weakening of the human immune system. Among may other characteristics it has, it is an immune system dysregulater.

    Speaking of capitalisation, the key trend under late stage, neoliberal capitalism, seems to be the capitalisation and monetization of lies. Telling lies is big business now, perhaps the biggest business in the USA. The best way to make money seems to be to peddle misinformation and disinformation. The entirety of advertising comes under this head, plus the entirety of the main stream news media. We can add in all the prosperity gospel evangelicals and the social media users who peddle disinformation opinions and “monetize” their threads and feeds. We can also add in the peddlers of deceptive and unrealistic images and fashions. Capitalism is collapsing under this weight of lies and corruption. This is as Marx predicted in broad terms. The cash nexus replaces all other values, even the concern for empirical truth. But a high energy, high tech society cannot afford to neglect material reality. Real forces come back to bite. The “snap-back” of these forces will hit home. Already, the capitalist west completely fails to deal with climate change and pandemics. The problems from that will get worse and worse. Without reform, even revolution, complete collapse is imminent. The unfettered market can’t deal with this. The economists have no understanding of what’s happening.

  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.