Update: Clive Crook has a better discussion of what is going on than I do (original here) – and how irritating it is – than I do. I’m embarrassed to say that I’m a few days behind on my blog reading, so I only saw this after writing my post 🙁
Even if nothing else is broken in the economy, there is one thing that has been irrevocably smashed.
My belief that academic economists in the US would be able to use the economic tools developed over the last 200 years to objectively frame issues during a crisis – and then transparently discuss the different value judgments they hold in order to inform policy.
Compare this belief I held to reality – where we have had ridiculously partisan arguments, where intelligent economists have just told everyone that other intelligent economists are morons (eg), and that their own conception of what is going on IS the truth (something economists don’t have the ability or knowledge to say).
Economists have a framework stemming from methodological individualism – a framework that frames problems. Even though “describing” and “predicting” are too value laden for us, my own view is that good economists will try to build inside this framework first before adding value judgments to get the “description” and “prescription”. Instead all we have seen is random conjecture based on ideological fervour. Saying that this disappoints me would be an understatement …