Friday, February 19, 2010

BREAKING NEWS: Economists argue with each other!

How funny, last week, in the Sunday Times, a group of leading economists, including top bods at the LSE, the former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, a former deputy governor of the Bank of England and head of the Financial Services Authority, and a former permanent secretary to the Treasury and cabinet secretary, wrote a letter saying the Tories proposals for immediate deficit reductions are the right course of action.

Today, in the Financial Times we have a letter signed by other leading economists, including a couple of Nobel Laureates, some former members of the Bank of England monetary policy committee and oddly a load of yanks, saying "No! The Tories are wrong! And so are the economists that said the Tories are right!"

What conclusions should we draw from this? Well apart from the logically flawed ad verecundiam arguments made by those who cite each as evidence in their favour, and the hilarious use of an ad populum by Sunny Hundal, what we can conclude is simple.

Economics is a pseudo-science based on inherent prejudicial bedrock assumptions, or more cynically, and accurately put, the leading economists of the world don't really know their arses from their elbows but they'll have a good fight with each other about which part of their body they should sit on.

As you were people, carry on.

UPDATE: Even Ben Bradshaw, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport is playing the hilariously thick numbers game on Twitter saying, "The economists supporting Labour's approach are more numerous."

Fair enough, when some partisan hack like Sunny makes the argument it's worth pointing at and mocking its intellectual weakness, but when someone in a position of power says "we got more people to say they agree with us therefore we are right" you have to wonder what the world is coming too. Talk about dumbing down!

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