Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Pourers of Cold Water and The Clueless Cheerleaders

Sometime ago, Kate the manager asked me why economists are hated. She could not reconcile this fact with her own experience getting along with the baristas in this cafe, who, albeit, in her words, little bit chauvinists, are mostly harmless.

Today she told me that she finally got the answer from her summer reading of George Stigler's Memoirs of an Unregulated Economist. (Please note, with this pick of summer reading, Kate is now officially an econ geek)

Stigler wrote:
Why it has been fashionable to abuse economists (even granting the possibility that they may deserve it)? The main reason is easily named -economists have been the premier "pourers of cold water" on proposals for social improvement, to the despair of the reformers and philanthropist who support these proposals.
Thus, it is small wonder that in the midst of elections when promises of social improvements comes cheap as politicians exploit almost anything -from neoliberalism to, well, neoliberalism -; economists are more hated. Yet, the most depressing part is that many faux economists themselves are engaged in such futile promises, and call them economics. Instead of the pourers of cold water, they are bunch of clueless cheerleaders.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like an interesting book. Pls thank Kate for me, for the summer reading suggestion ;-)