How We Learned to Start Worrying and Stop Loving Economics

Felix Nugee of the Cambridge Society for Economic Pluralism (CSEP) has written a rather curious blog post (even the more curious given the name of his society) outlining how he “learned to stop worrying and start loving economics”. After reading it, one remains in the dark as to how Nugee was convinced, seeing as the post largely consists of unsupported assertions or deferrals to the arguments of others. For example, Nugee makes a series of unsubstantiated claims, such as the notion that it’s “very difficult to properly understand unemployment unless you start off thinking that each agent is utility maximising”, and that “it is the maths that [economics] uses in statistical analysis which makes it much more rigorous than other social sciences”. He claims he has experienced “multiple historical examples of how all of the macro theory worked i.e. Ricardian Equivalence”, without actually offering up any of this evidence for the reader. He approvingly lists a number of frameworks and models used in economics, such as cost benefit analysis, without actually giving reasons why we should believe they work. He returns to this theme later when he states that the idea “economists try to get involved with everything” is “rubbish”, then uncritically accepts econometrics as a tool that is “relevant to a broad range of topics”, again without examples. Nugee acknowledges that mainstream economics hasn’t done a good job of explaining the crisis, but doesn’t think this is much of a problem. This is because the crisis was a recent, unforeseen event which economists are still trying to understand. Nugee claims that it’s unreasonable to “expect an explanation of the most complex systemic collapse – whose...