Thursday, 16 June 2011

Economics, or what passes for it on Radio 4

Listening to the Today Programme on Radio 4 this morning, I was mildly enraged by a short piece by someone calling himself an economist, talking about economic bubbles and how mystifying they were. It seems no one has any idea what causes them. He noted some skull-jockey's explanation that it was something to do with testosterone on the trading floor ('animal spirits' as J M Keynes might have put it). Imagine my consternation, when on googling the bugger's name - Tim Harford - it transpires he's the holder of The Bastiat Prize for Economics.

How dare they take Bastiat's name and prostitute it for their lame pseudo-economists. I doubt they've ever read Bastiat, and this Harford fellow certainly hasn't read anyone influenced by Bastiat, for if he had, it wouldn't be such a mystery. Knowing very little about Harford, and I accept I may be judging him harshly, I'm just sick of these establishment courtiers. Below is a good example of the gulf between someone who understands economics - Peter Schiff - and someone who knows how to dissemble for the ruling class.

Tellingly in the clip, Laffer compares economic forecasting to forecasting the weather or the sex of an unborn baby, and he's certainly right with regards the economical quackery employed by the in-crowd, who scorn theory in favour of empiricism, but empiricism can only tell you what has happened, not what will happen, so naturally when they get it wrong, they shrug and say 'well, it's all guess-work'. I agree, but that being the case, what exactly is the point of these guys with their mathematical models and their fat pay-cheques, if we'll get as much sense from a ouija board?

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