Anatole Kaletsky indicts the modern economist profession for the current crisis in the Prospect:
Was Adam Smith an economist? Was Keynes, Ricardo or Schumpeter? By the standards of today’s academic economists, the answer is no. Smith, Ricardo and Keynes produced no mathematical models. Their work lacked the “analytical rigour” and precise deductive logic demanded by modern economics…. If any of these giants of economics applied for a university job today, they would be rejected. As for their written work, it would not have a chance of acceptance in the Economic Journal or American Economic Review….
….The truth is even worse than this rhetorical question suggests: not only have economists, as a profession, failed to guide the world out of the crisis, they were also primarily responsible for leading us into it.
I have long shared held the views expressed by Kaletsky. Perhaps that’s why I’m not in some research school and writing in the major Econ journals. Alas, it appears that economists (the current reigning crop of “leading mainstream academic economists” are rather thin-skinned. Kaletsky’s critique was generally not well received by the PTB in the profession. Witness Mark Thoma and more Thoma and yet more Thoma and Krugman. Methinks they doth protest too much. They take great offense at the Kaletsky’s supposed attack on “math”, when in fact Kaletsky is attacking the methodology and thinking that limits itself only to math, that will not question assumptions, and then raises the math outcome to the status of “truth”. Economics left the study of the real economy and real people behind in the era 1950-1980. It fell into the grip of MMMM ( modern math model mania).
Some of my own thoughts and reactions to Thoma’s reaction to Kaletsky below the fold: