Economists, Greed, and Envy

Yves Smith asks a good question:

Why is it that economics is a Teflon discipline, seemingly unable to admit or recognize its errors?

Well, I have some ideas about that. As I’ve hinted in War of the Economists, the need for so many economists is driven by the supposedly legitimacy of macroeconomics. If you believe in macroeconomics, then governments and major institutional players have a strong incentive to have economists on board. But if you believe, as the Austrian economists do, that macroeconomics is bunk, then the world needs a lot fewer economists. It seems to me that economists, as a group, have a strong incentive to avoid questioning the value of their own work.

Yves goes on to ponder the question of greed. Of course, anyone who earns money through fraud or aggression is a villain. I think we can all agree on that. But anyone who desires to become wealthy, even hyper-wealthy, through legitimate means, has only one option available to him. He must provide an extraordinary amount of benefit to their fellow man. I don’t think we should discourage that, which is why I worry far more about envy than greed.


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