02 Dec 2008

Did I Pick the Wrong Profession?

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Over at MR, wiseguy meter wrote:

I have to say, this is like watching a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off.

‘The Economy’ is surely large and complex, but it is surprising (to me, and other laypeople I’m sure) that economists can’t come to a consensus on even the theoretical prescriptions & proscriptions – much less the mechanics to carry out those policies.

I’m wondering if any of you are suffering a private loss of confidence in your field of study/practice.

I, being even wiser and more manly, responded:

Meter, right now I am hoping Paulson offers an econ PhD buyback program. You are actually being too kind to us. Forget the prescriptions; we can’t even agree on the patient’s temperature. Did you catch how Alex Tabarrok and I–who are fairly close on the ideological spectrum–can’t even agree if the Fed is injecting liquidity?

This would be like a doctor giving a morphine drip, then the other doctor says, “Whoa that might make things worse!” and the first doctor saying, “What morphine drip? I passed a magnet over it so it’s equivalent to saline.”

(Yes Alex ends up being the bad doctor in my analogy.)

No worries, folks. In twelve months we’ll know whether Alex or I am right.

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