A few people around the traps have been talking these last few days about 'pop econ' books like Steven Leavitt's 'Freakonomics' and Tim Harford's 'Underground Economist' that purport to take economic reasoning from the arid realms of economic analysis and apply it to everything from the use of toilet paper to the impact of abortion on inner city crime.
For all the pleasure to be had in reading them, and the huge sales of these books show how much fun there is in them, wouldn't it be better if instead of applying economic reasoning to other people's fields, these economists first sort out their own?
While revealing what their economics has to say about your nail clippings and the 'hidden' effect of what your mother calls you when you're born -- in other words, things of almost total irrelevance -- these so-called economists seem to have been blithely unaware as the meddling of the world's great central bankers brought about the world's great credit crunch.
When most economists miss such an obvious blunder, when they struggle to understand the very basics of their own profession -- including where money comes from and what causes recessions and inflation and even how to properly define them -- it's clear the economists' own stables still need seriously mucking out. Until that's done, (if I may mix a metaphor) perhaps they'd better stick to their knitting instead of advising on it.
|Freakonomics [Revised and Expanded]: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything |
by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner
Read more about this book...
UPDATE: Here's an example: while 'mainstream' economists write 'pop econ' books and promote the need to for 'fiscal stimulus' -- in other words, more easy credit to mop up the problems caused the earlier wads of easy credit -- the more sensible chaps have asked themselves a few serious questions, and formed a Coalition against Fiscal Stimulus [hat tip Paul Walker].