Nessa sexta eu vou inauguar uma série, chamada Friday post. A idéia é escrever algum texto em inglês às sextas-feiras. Assim eu treino meu inglês, e eventualmente vou poder comentar pra blogs em inglês textos em inglês.
Today I’ll discuss about economistas and economics, even though it’s been a while since I studied in a sistematic way economics and economists.
As I commented in a post in portuguese, I’ve been tryint to follow Tyler Cowen’s blog, Marginal Reolution, but it’s pretty hard these days, mainly due to his rightist inclinations. It seemed to me that people considered him somewaht ecletic, but at least for now, I don’t see things this way.
Anyway, my point here is nout about Tyler Cowen, but about the trend of economists to try to say what policies government should pursue, even in areas where they’re not experts. They have policy suggestions about economics, of couse, but also about public health, education, pensions, institutional reforms, innovation and so on. It’s understandeable that these issues have economic implications and that economistas have a say in the debates of these issues. But in general they simply don’t know what experts of these areas are discussing (at most they barely know mainstream literature on the subject) and still they believe they know everything they should know.
The opposite is true, obviously. The fact is that economists don’t know well these issues in general and most of the time make silly statements about them. Tyler Cowen, for instance, talking about the necessity of integranting other theorys to understand economic crisis, talked about the importance of institutions. Very well pointed. However, instead of pointing to political science’s contribution, he suggested public choice and institutional economics only.
Moreover, due to the formal aparatus and econometric techiniques, they sometimes convince lay people that what they’re saying is more centain than in fact is. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have problems with mathmatics or statistics. But I do have a problem with economists talking about stuff they don’t know and having a large influence on these issues. It would be better if they contrained themselves to talk about what they do understand (perhaps they may ending talking about nothing, since, what the hell they really know?).
ps.: Of course, this is not a sin only of economists. Physicists in general make pretty silly statements when they start to talk about issues out of their domain without studying seriously the subject before.