The blood runs cold when one fully appreciates how vulnerable official policymakers and the Western policy community is to slogans and to magical thinking. The Reinhart-Rogoff case is the latest, and certainly will not be the last, in which the credulity and carelessness of experts wreak havoc among ordinary people -- in this case, ordinary people by the millions.
The Reinhart-Rogoff error was initially rumor but in the past week has become a scandal. Professors
"Ah ha!" the economic and governmental policy community in the U.S. and
Nobody seems to have checked the Reinhart-Rogoff paper, since it was exactly what governments, politicians and academic economists wanted.
Then another professor, at the
I am not writing this simply to pile onto the economists who so casually have put the Western world into this mess. I am concerned at this demonstration of the credulity or legerity of policy professionals who accept such propositions even when they seem self-evidently too good to be true, or even when they defy common sense.
In the latter respect, there is Marxism itself, which so entranced so much of the European and subsequently Asian (and much of the American) intellectual worlds when it was proposed as a "science" of history. It was, of course, in no sense a science, even as science was understood at the time of "The Communist Manifesto" in 1848 and of Marx's major theoretical work, "Capital," in 1867.
It was the Bolshevik Revolution that made Marxism famous, but revolution had not followed the course Marxist "science" predicted, since it foresaw worldwide revolution conducted by the industrial working class, which hardly existed in rural
All one can say about Marxism's role is that in both places it supplied what might be called a moral message of predicted revolutionary victory, which was a vital motivational factor in those revolutions. That may have been crucial, but Communist doctrine was false.
Moving to our own times,
This was seized upon by the George W. Bush administration and neo-conservative forces in the U.S. to justify the
- Ending War for All Children Everywhere
- The Path of Hubris and War
- The Lever of Social Action
- Tax Havens Under Attack
- How to Help The Poor in a Rich Man's World
- Global Domination and Databases
- Hague Tribunal Controversy Hints at US-Israeli Aims
- Pope Francis' First 100 Days Give Signs of Hope
- Sci-Fi Worthy of Malthus
- Should the United States Continue to be the Indispensable Nation?
- The Dilution of Journalism
- The Stagnant Mediterranean
- Anarchy and Hegemony
- The End of Youth
- Immortality: Holding Back the Years
- The Age of Aging
- Feel Like retiring? Forget It!
- Half-Baked Economic Theories Continue to Direct Global Economy
- Capitalism Is Not Dying
- When are Goals Ever Truly Realized in International Affairs?
- Beyond the Post-Cold War World
- Moscow - Beijing Ties: An Axis of Necessity
- UN Arms Treaty May Succeed Despite Iran, North Korea, Syria and NRA
- Grief Without Borders
- Elimination of Poverty Possible
- New Century is Off to a Wobbly Start
- Pope Francis Ties with Jews, Muslims Could Strengthen Vatican
- Pope Francis Staunch in Conservatism and in Defense of the Poor
- Bin Laden's Influence Lives on After Him
- Dam Construction Raising Regional Tensions
- Haiti's Man-Made Hell
- The World's Struggle to Kick the Habit
- United States and Israel Push The Boundaries of International Law
- Military Interventions Rarely Fulfill Their Goals
- Why Do Societies Give Up?
- War is Like Rust
- War's Lingering Phantoms
- Lasting Peace
- Controlling Lucifer
- United States to Join Global Race for Talent -- Big Time
(c)2013 Tribune Media Services, "Half-Baked Economic Theories Continue to Direct Global Economy"