Do the Experts Know Anything? … This has been a terrible day for experts. Economic professionals were overwhelmingly of the opinion that leaving the European Union would hurt the United Kingdom. And until a few hours ago, the consensus of public opinion experts — at least if one uses prediction markets as a proxy — was that voters would in the end decide to stay in the EU. Didn’t work out that way, did it? Brexit won. Take that, experts! – Bloomberg
Now here’s an interesting reversal. A Bloomberg editorial that blows up a powerful dominant social theme – the competence of experts.
Experts are central to the evolution of the modern, globalist state. The technocrat is the white knight of the modern age, going wherever the need for his services is the most acute.
Such technocrats rarely fail, according to the mainstream media. Or when they do, it’s not reported.
The emergent international state is to build on corporatism and be populated by technocratic experts.
To say bad things about experts in Bloomberg, one of the core news facilities of mainstream media is bold. It is an unusual occurrence.
And yet this article, as we can see from the excerpt beginning it, is calling expertise into question.
Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy, for example, can fairly be seen as a rejection of expertise in all its forms. And long before the Trump phenomenon, critics in the U.S. were gleefully attacking the expert consensus on everything from climate change to vaccinations.
Why are experts having such a tough time? From my current perspective (that of a generalist business-and-economics journalist sitting at a desk in the Bloomberg News bureau in Beijing, which I am visiting this week), three main reasons stand out …
The article then lists the three reasons:
To this list we’d add a fourth – one that has to do with the reality of expertise, which is almost always forward-looking.
Common-sense economics informs us that forecasting the future is almost impossible. When one is correct, one is merely lucky.
The reason for the cult of expertise, as we have pointed out in the past, has to do with the necessity of central bank forecasting.
To exist, central bankers must be able to foretell the future. And thus the expert meme has been constructed, piece by painful piece.
And today experts are everywhere, making predictions that rarely come true and passing judgment that often ill-advised.
In our view, public patience is certainly starting to wear thin. We’d like to think the Internet itself has undermined “expertise.”
It’s not easy to be an expert when the public is no longer subject to amnesia. People can go online and see the malfunctioning of expertise whenever they want.
There is one more reason for the growing distrust of expertise. That has to do with expanding skepticism of elite dominant social themes generally.
This Bloomberg article itself mentions some memes that are increasingly questioned – including the efficacy of vaccines and the dangers posed by “global warming.”
We see this as the inevitable result of this Internet era, when people can use the information at their fingertips to make up their own minds about elite themes.
As this process evolves, we fully expect it to have an increasing impact on the validity of modern technology.
It is for this reason that we have begun to take a more skeptical look at areas of technology such as space travel and nuclear weapons.
After all, the Internet is a process not an episode and the Western military industrial complex will not remain impervious to the trends affecting other elements of “common wisdom.”
Conclusion: It is almost inevitable that Western society is facing ongoing turmoil as questions are raised on a variety of fronts hitherto considered untouchable. The failure of confidence in experts and “expertise” marks the beginning of this occurrence, not the end.
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