Economic Disagreements

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Economic Disagreements

Political identification also makes for disagreement.

In the United States in 2015 we have Republican economists and Democratic economists.

Their personal politics controls or shapes their conclusions.

That has been true in our case; over the years we've found virtue, at election time, in the views of some Democrats of exceptional illiteracy, economically speaking.

Quite a few economists measure their truth by the applause it evokes; they adjust their position, perhaps unconsciously, to what their audience will think agreeable.

Then, more important and perhaps more to be forgiven, there is the problem of change.

The ultimate subject matter of the physical sciences is fixed.

That of economics, in contrast, is always in the process of change - the corporation, the labour force, the behaviour of the consumer, the role of government, are all always in transition.

This means that economics, if it is to avoid obsolescence, must adapt in two ways.

It must change as new information is added or interpretation is improved.

And it must change as basic institutions change.

Disagreement then comes because different economists have different reactions to change.

Some yearn to believe that the basic subject matter, like that of the hard sciences, is given for all time.

Some accept that economic institutions are in a process of continual alteration - that what was true of corporate, trade union, consumer or government behaviour yesterday will not be true today and certainly not tomorrow.

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Economists Don't All Agree

Economists don't all agree; many totally disagree.

Why do they disagree? How do we tell whom We should believe? As to the disagreement, there are several reasons.

There is self-interest, something we all recognize and are usually too polite to mention.

An economist who works for a large New York bank in 2015 rarely comes up with a conclusion that is adverse to the interest of his bank as that is understood by his employers.

His public truth is what gains their approval.

There has always been in the United States a healthy suspicion of the views of the economics professor who... see: Economists Don't All Agree

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