STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
The Best Way for Economists to Stay Relevant Today Is to Go Out of Business
By Daily Bell Staff - January 11, 2017

How Economists Can Stay Relevant Under Trump … Economists are going to have to approach things a bit differently if they want to stay relevant in the Trump age. Political economy research is going to become more important. Some humility wouldn’t hurt. And they should look someplace other than the federal government to test their ideas.  This is what I took away from this past weekend’s American Economic Association’s annual conference, where I heard a panel with five Nobel-winning economists on the topic of “Where is the world economy headed?” – Bloomberg

God willing, they can’t. Economics, as a profession is part of central banking. Almost no economics, with the exception of Austrian economics rejects central banking.

But economics as a part of central banking includes price fixing. Whenever central bankers meet they fix short term interest rates as a matter of course. Short term rates then influence longer term rates.

Price fixing itself is not endorsed by economics. It is a contradiction because economics as a profession seeking to create an environment where economics can go to work effectively. Every price fix tears down the functioning of economics.

More:

One lesson of Trump’s election is that technocracy — the idea that wise, expert leaders should steer policy for the good of all — is out of favor. Economists may still be the toast of the American and British elite, but that elite has been sidelined by a populist wave.

Free trade, although not the most important issue facing the country, was a hugely symbolic battle. The elite, supported by the vast majority of the econ profession, took the virtues of free trade as a given; the general public disagreed vehemently with the expert consensus.

The eventual victory of the populists has caused many economists to question whether the public will listen to them again in their lifetimes.

This is another reason why economics should severely restrain itself as a profession. (And possibly go out business.) Economics has encouraged technocracy, the regime of the few making decisions for the many.

Economics is the study of the discipline of work and as such does not include statements and proscriptions encouraging a small handful of people to make economic policy.

Economics as a matter of course should back the free market. The free market IS economics. When economics backs something other than the free market, it is not backing functional economics anymore. It is backing something else.

Technocracy is also a price fix and a very obnoxious one. When just a few make economic decisions for the many, the fabric of economics is increasingly threadbare. The best economics encourages a wide variety of financial actors to make decisions in their own enlightened self-interest.

Economics is all about freedom but modern economics is all about restricting freedom and choosing who can make economic decisions for others. This is exactly the reverse of what it should be.

Ultimately economics is not much needed as a profession because it is proactive. It tries to tell government and corporations what to do to make business and profits better but in doing so only makes the economic climate worse.

We don’t need more economic advice and nostrums. We need fewer economics and certainly fewer economic proscriptions that encourage people to “do” things beyond buying and selling.

The best thing that economics could do in the modern era is to shrink itself drastically and return to a science advocating free market solutions. It should advocate as little government as possible and the greatest amount of self-determination for the most people possible.

Conclusion:  If it did this, It would become a real profession again, albeit a smaller one, surviving in the nooks and crannies of academia. But that is where it should be.

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  • alaska3636

    More populism. From the WaPo:
    “Reforming the very nature of capitalism will be needed to combat the growing appeal of populist political movements around the world, the World Economic Forum said Wednesday.”
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/growing-gap-between-rich-and-poor-seen-as-key-economic-risk/2017/01/11/7e290a78-d7e3-11e6-a0e6-d502d6751bc8_story.html?utm_term=.b18429aac605

  • apberusdisvet

    In a totally free market, governed by the “invisible hand”, there is neither need nor reason for economists to exist, as evidenced by the disastrous results of the manipulating hand of government, when it gets involved in the fine tuning of free economic forces.

  • disqus_QZX8ENhLyb

    I think one (major) problem with (“Main Scream”) Economics is a dearth of well-thoughtout, widely-accepted definitions of all the terms that are thrown around and misinterpreted.
    Just what does “free market” mean? Let’s have a COMPLETE AND THOROUGH definition, and THEN discuss things.
    The “Austrian School” is the only group that espouses real, true free markets, as far as I can tell.

    Want a lively, stormy “discussion”? Just ask someone to define money and currency.

    • rahrog

      Agreed. Language is very powerful. The Establishment, and their minions, are very adept at misleading, misinforming, and outright lying through twisted language usage.

  • philip mccormack

    Hi disqus-QZXBENhLyb from Philip Try reading ProfesserAEFekete.com he is an Austrian who habitually defines and will debate any one, that is a rarity in itself.
    drpcmccormack@gmail,com

  • Doc

    Are there not a great many professions that exist and thrive on such a large scale just because of silly regulations?

    This is all a waste of course, and my own trade is definitely included, I’m willing to admit.

    As an individual it’s not easy to find something you do that is not part of the evil apparatus when it is almost everywhere.

    • Col. Edward H. R. Green

      “As an individual it’s not easy to find something you do that is not part of the evil apparatus when it is almost everywhere.”

      I have been a member of a profession that suffers relatively little interference by government with respect to the way it conducts its business, and even that bit of interference can be avoided with a little strategic planning.

      Perhaps the reason that my profession enjoys this situation is that its global revenue is a paltry $1-2 billion.

      My income in this profession has been a roller coaster ride, more so than it is in a heavily government-controlled profession like accountancy, law, medical care, engineering, mining, agriculture, and financial services, etc.

      However, I am happy to ride that roller coaster and enjoy a level of personal and professional freedom that I would not have working in just about any other occupation.

      • Doc

        Great to hear, thanks for sharing.

  • Dimitri Ledkovsky

    Part of “the study of the discipline of work” by economists should be the hands on experiencing of work.

  • Jim Johnson

    Keynes pleased governments by making war bonds a thing of the past. So much has been driven by the nuclear bomb, wherein every variable that could be nullified was dealt in. Not going hat-in-hand to citizenry for proper financing cut up our constitution like nothing else. As the Big Reset gains momentum, let us realize the very real dangers underlying our decisions.

  • Hippity

    I loved what President Harry S. Truman said. “I wish I could meet a one armed economist, because they will say, ‘on the one hand this, but on the other hand that.'”

  • autonomous

    “Nobody should listen to anyone but me” The libertarian principle.

  • Redza Shahwis

    The world will be saved by regular people, most of whom know nothing of economic theory

  • Philip McCormack

    DISQUSQZXBENHlyb Yes ProfessorFekete.com He is a mild mannered and brilliant man.Philip

  • James Clander

    Spot on article -well argued.

  • Kernel01

    Although topically interesting to think about, I’ve always looked at Economists as being like Weathermen in that they can make predictions, but are not held accountable to their “predictions” when things turn out differently. That is, they cannot suffer the “economic blame” (i.e., loss of their job) when their predictions fail. Throw them into the same basket of deplorables as fortune tellers and horoscopes?

  • Samarami

    Ever since my kids set me up with a computer (1995??? — time gets away) I’ve saved to a “Wisdom” file short sayings, or wisdoms, that have struck me as worthy of keeping in the forefront of my withering brain. Some I’ve printed out, framed, and put on my den wall. They’ve become too numerous for that.

    This article presented me with two more:

    1) Price Fixes

    Every price fix
    tears down the functioning
    of economics. ~Daily Bell Staff

    http://www.thedailybell.com/news-analysis/the-best-way-for-economists-to-stay-relevant-today-is-to-go-out-of-business/

    2) Economics and Free Market

    Economics as a matter of course
    should back the free market.
    The free market IS economics.
    When economics backs something
    other than the free market,
    it is not backing functional economics anymore.
    It is backing something else. ~Daily Bell Staff

    http://www.thedailybell.com/news-analysis/the-best-way-for-economists-to-stay-relevant-today-is-to-go-out-of-business/

    Thanks, folks! Sam

    • Fred Bastiat

      Thanks Sam!
      – Folks

  • Samarami

    Here’s the link for an article to which I’ve posted here at DB at least once, perhaps more:

    https://www.lewrockwell.com/2011/03/gary-north/those-lying-textbooks/

    It was written by Gary North almost 6 years ago. Originally entitled, “Why Economists
    Love the Federal Reserve”, it augments what you’ve written here; and deserves a second read. Sam

    • Darquius

      Thanks 4 this comment link.
      Gary North, with my friend Art Robinson, authored a book on Disaster Prepairedness ( With help from Kristen Kerney) I referred to often when designing private security systems. Followed his work until he became one of America’s first escapees (i.e. casualties) in now flood stage (economic context) ex-patriot brain drain trend.
      But somehow missed this most concisely lucid economic perspective work.

      Thanks again.. 🙂

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