Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Day for Humility

Last year I enjoyed telling a number of entirely unfair jokes about economists. This year, I looked at the same source and found only one joke about the profession’s involvement in depressions. Here it is:

“Such a severe depression and banking crisis could not have been achieved by normal civil servants and politicians, it required economists’ involvement.”

This, in short, is a time for humility. Why did we mostly get “it” so sensationally wrong? How did something that looks increasingly like the precursor of a slump creep up on almost all of us this year? It is a pretty good question. It is a pretty embarrassing one, too. It is one everybody I meet now asks.

[...] Yet I can’t get away from this feeling of inadequacy. One might not expect much from economists, but one would surely expect them to warn us of a crisis on this scale. Some humility is in order. That is going to hurt. A humble economist? Surely not.
That's Martin Wolf (FT) via Mark Thoma at Economist's View. By comparison, PBS had a glowing review of economics bloggers a short while ago. I think a large dose of humility is in order.

Enjoy Thanksgiving. If you are looking for a way to give back over the coming year have a look at Kiva. Best Wishes.

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