March 15, 2019

The retirement of a fake scientist and real agenda pusher

Comment on Simon Wren-Lewis on ‘Triangulation or bipartisanship does not work when one side goes off the scale’


Simon Wren-Lewis cites Brad DeLong approvingly: “Brad DeLong describes himself as a Rubin Democrat, which he defines as ‘largely neoliberal, market-oriented, and market-regulation and tuning aimed at social democratic ends. It is a natural position for an economist to be: it is generally more efficient to tweak markets than destroy them. But he thinks the time has come for this kind of Democrat to pass the baton over to the left. ‘We are still here, but it is not our time to lead.’”

It is an unnoticed absurdity that economists introduce themselves by waving a political flag. However, the general public and economists themselves have become accustomed to the idea that economics is just another act in the political Circus Maximus.

This impression is correct but there is a problem. There is the political sphere and the scientific sphere and both cannot go together. Economics claims to be science from Adam Smith/Karl Marx onward to the ‘Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel’. The task of economics as a science is to figure out how the monetary economy works. Did economists make a good job? No! This is where we stand today: provably false
• profit theory, for 200+ years,
• microfoundations, for 150+ years,
• macrofoundations, for 80+ years,
• the application of elementary logic and mathematics since the founding fathers.

Economics is a failed science. And economists like Brad DeLong and Simon Wren-Lewis are public representatives of the worst scientific performance since the Flat-Earth-Theory. Economics is dead as science but alive as political agenda pushing. As Brad DeLong proudly remarks: “We are still here.”

Unfortunately, this is all too true. There are always excellent employment opportunities in the political sphere for failed/fake scientists. Lenin called them useful idiots, economists prefer to describe themselves as experts ‘who know and care about the detail and the difficulties involved in populist policies.’#1, #2 Too bad that they do not know how the economy works.

“In order to tell the politicians and practitioners something about causes and best means, the economist needs the true theory or else he has not much more to offer than educated common sense or his personal opinion.” (Stigum)

Economists lack true theory. The major approaches ― Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism ― are mutually contradictory, axiomatically false, materially/formally inconsistent and all got the pivotal concept of the subject matter ― profit ― wrong. There is NO scientific truth in economics.#3

But this does not matter much for an agenda pusher. What matters is to wave a political flag: “Our current bunch of leftists are wonderful people, as far as leftists in the past are concerned. They’re social democrats, they’re very strong believers in democracy. They’re very strong believers in fair distribution of wealth. They could use a little more education about what is likely to work and what is not. But they’re people who we’re very, very lucky to have on our side.”

After having passed the baton over to the next generation of useful idiots it is time for the old guard of political economics to bury themselves at the Flat-Earth-Cemetery in the large section reserved for economists.#4 Adam Smith and Karl Marx are already there.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

#1 A political stench is in the air
#2 Economics as a cover for agenda pushing
#3 Links on capital-T Truth, stupidity, corruption
#4 For details of the big picture see cross-references Political Economics