Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Crisis of Faith

Economist Brad DeLong is suffering an epistemic crisis and he's quite upset about it.
I used to--six years ago--be certain that people like Emerson were wrong. 
It seemed to me that economics had a powerful technocratic core and a powerful set of analytical tools that helped to make sense of the world. 
But the treatment that the world has gotten from the Lucases, Cochranes, Famas, Kocherlakotas, and many others, not to mention the Prescotts--none of whom seems to have made any effort to mark their prejudices to reality--has shaken my confidence to the core. They seemed to me and seem to me to have simply not done their homework, and not be trying to do their homework.
I trust that this will, in the fullness of time, become a full-blown existential crisis for him.  I know it has for me.  The policy failures of the Very Serious People™ in the economics field is nearly complete.  Their ability to sustain a line of customers for their supply-side snake-oil and their magic expansionary austerity powders from the back of a rickety, broken-down policy cart will never, ever cease to be a source of amazement.  People really are stupid.

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