Bloggers Don’t Have A Clue About Economics

Dr. Karthik Athreya, who works for the Federal Reserve, seems to think that his Ph.D. gives him a God like quality when it comes to economics. He believes that bloggers who write about economics are idiots and cause more harm than good. He thinks that only people with a degree in economics should be allowed to to express an opinion about the economy, because economics is hard. Really hard to understand, according to Dr. Athreya.

A recent article states:

Athreya’s basic argument appears to be that only professional research economists should be allowed to discuss economics because, well, economics is really hard, and nobody else has a chance of understanding it or appreciating all the complexity of the discipline. “When a professional research economist thinks or talks about social insurance, unemployment, taxes, budget deficits, or sovereign debt, among other things, they almost always have a very precisely articulated model that has been vetted repeatedly for internal coherence,” he writes. Everybody else, not so much.

Athreya observes, with some dismay, that in the field of Oncology there is no comparable onco-blogosphere boasting a mob of untrained idjits spouting off varying theories about what causes and how to treat cancer. (Which is not to say that there are no crackpot wannabe onco-pundits, just that they are insignificant in numbers compared to mighty throng of poseurs who dare to cite Keynes’ name as if they actually understood what the man was going on about in “The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money.”)

What amazes me about his allegations is that having a Ph.D. is useless when we are surrounded by crooks and thieves that shatter the traditional models he asserts he is brilliant at. When you have the CEO of Bank of America being interviewed by 60 Minutes and lying through his teeth, how can you adjust your models to this?  When you have the prime mortgage mess, that even Alan Greenspan admitted took him by surprise, no Ph.D. wielding economists can comprehend how this can wreak havoc on the economy.

I do agree about this man’s assertions that no one talks about Oncology. We have respect for the medical profession and its opinions. But to compare yourself, Dr. Athreya, to a medical doctor that may actually have a clue at what they are doing, insults our intelligence.

Comments welcome.

Source – Salon