Friday, July 29, 2016

Do You Trust an Economist?

Over the past eight years I have examined economists and the economy. Now in many ways economists are akin to the Scholastics in the 13th Century. They follow a set of rules for the debate and adherence to the rules often surpasses the facts. We have gotten a mass of confusing and conflicting tales from some of the best. I had followed Romer's employment projections just before the change in Administration and we all know how they turned out.

Now another Ivy league savant basically states that is is we uneducated, that is PhD engineers from MIT, who are misguided. In the NY Times the savant states:

Voters clearly aren’t listening to economists. In a recent poll, an overwhelming number of leading economists agreed that Brexit would most likely lower incomes both in Britain and in the rest of the European Union. Similarly, in the United States, most top economists agree that “past major trade deals have benefited most Americans” and that “trade with China makes most Americans better off.” But those aren’t sentiments we will be hearing anytime soon from Mr. Trump or Mrs. Clinton.In one respect, it is easy to understand why. According to a CBS News/New York Times poll conducted last month, only 35 percent of registered voters thought the United States gained from globalization, while 55 percent thought it lost. On issues of international trade, the current crop of candidates is following public opinion. 

The real problem is not that we are not listening but that we are and it is all too often a cacaphony of conflicting ideas devoid of any factual base. They are politically oriented opinions. There are no laws of nature in economics. We know more about cancer genetic dynamics than we know about trade. We feel trade as a good or bad thing, yet it is complex and it benefits are often lacking. We see everything as made in China, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Cambodia, but then again we see nothing made in Russia or even Argentina.  

Leadership can focus the populace on the benefits and make them see what works, Lack of leadership results in lack of trust, lack of trust then in suspicion, especially of all things. 

Thus is is not the white non-college educated males that are the economists problem.  It is the PhDs who work in the real world that do not tolerate the mystical machinations of these soothsayers. Sorry folks, we just don't trust you.