There are a few out there like Paul Krugman, but they are the exceptions that prove the rule: most economists are right-wing ideologues who actually awarded one of their own a Nobel prize within the last 100 years (last 20 or so to be more precise) for expounding the novel concept that the economic agents of their fancy models were not perfectly rational, in no ways had access to the same or equal or perfect amount of information. Worse, mathematicians like Benoit Mandelbrot (who basically invented fractal geometry) were basically ignored when they told them that these models are of about the same predictive power as the weather (See The Misbehaviour of Markets). Which means you can say it will be hotter in the summer and cooler in the winter, but you can’t say it will be 89 degrees on August 1.
In complete and total violation of the methodological framework that has prevailed on hard sciences since Newton wrote them down, instead of saying the models were broken when they didn’t conform to history (like 1990s Japan, or today in America) they just add hacks to the model. When the astronomers couldn’t let go of the geocentric model, they devised a whole new method of explaining Mars’s apparent retrograde motion in the sky by saying Mars orbited around a sphere in its sphere proper. The fact that Copernicus’s heliocentric model made everything simpler just didn’t matter for a long, long time.
So, the Ptolemaic Economists keep adding epicycles in blind contradiction of Occam’s Razor and empirical evidence. They keep telling us that we have to trust the markets, that the government can’t fix things, and that private industry is the solution to everything.
From a sheer historical point of view this is revealed as nonsense. Ignoring finer econometric data based on these Ptolemaic models, it’s simple to see that the times of higher wage growth correspond with higher infrastructure (i.e. the commons) investment, higher capital investment, higher entry into the middle class….and higher top end marginal tax rates and government spending not being a bad word.
Historically, Copernican Economics shows quite plainly that investment in the commons bears the kind of fruit that policy makers claim to want. Copernican Economics also shows that times of widening inequality, unregulated markets, and concentrating wealth immediately precede panics and depressions.
Copernican economics might also tell you that if the biggest cause of bankruptcy, the biggest drain on the economy, the largest growing expense for just about everyone, growing like a cancer on GDP, the ostensible cause for the vaunted US auto industry’s collapse is health care that and investment in the commons of health care just might–just maybe!!!–kinda sorta be a good idea.
The problem is, the academy is ruled by the Ptolemaic Economists. The Phlogiston Economists. The curative leeching Economists (perhaps the most proper term). The scary thing is what happened to the countries ruled by the Ptolemaists. Britain became a global empire and defined civilization for 300 years after it stopped quashing the “Copernicans” like Newton, Halley, et al. Those parts of Europe that suppressed them? Well, they have nice art and better food than Britain.
America is in danger of clinging to its own legends and new Ptolemaic dogma. The legends of Ronald Reagan and There Will Be Blood. That lusty greed that drove people to California in 1849 and into the real estate market 5 years ago. We need to cut it out and start listening to the Copernicans now, or else we ought to start learning Chinese (or, God forbid, Arabic).