Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday Morning Kristolism.

Economists still do have considerable sway in our public life — even though it doesn’t seem that a large number of them have been particularly prescient in warning about, or strikingly persuasive in explaining, the current economic situation ...

... After all, wasn’t it excessive confidence in complex economic models and sophisticated financial instruments on the part of people well educated in modern economics that helped get us into the current mess?

So I hope the best and the brightest who will be joining the new president will at least entertain the possibility that a lot of what they think they know is wrong. 
Kristol blaiming the crisis on the science of economics is like an obese person blaming gastronomy for being fat.  What discipline, pray tell, do you think we should be relying on to find the answers?  Astrology?  No wait, I kind of understand.  When I was about 7, I asked my mom, a chemist, whether she felt guilty about being a chemist.  The environment, afterall, was getting crappy because all sorts of chemicals that humans produce.  It seemed logical that chemistry should be blamed for something like that.  Makes sense, right?  Yes, to a 7-year old, for sure.

Besides, quite a few economists (Roubini, among others) were predicting the worst, but noone was listening, most crucially not the government (which Kristol has yet to put any blame on whatsoever).  So yes, the new government should entertain the possibility that a lot of what they think they know is wrong.  Every government should, whether there is a crisis or not.  Constantly questioning and testing yourself is the cornerstone of critical thinking and allowing for dissenting views if the key attribute for effective and sustainable governance.  It is also the sort of thing that has been particularly absent during the last 8 years, so coming from the head cheerleader of the present administration this sort of "advice" is not just superfluous and disingenuous.  It is also further evidence that this man is overdue for replacement.

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