I think a lot of people, including major stakeholders, know this to be true, or at least feel it to be true, but are willing to continue acting as if it isn't, because the very act of re-evaluating the fundamentals of the field will cause both existential and market crises which will be too painful to endure.
So that makes me curious, what aspects of economics seems fraudulent in your opinion?
Nit: psychology as a broad field of study isn't fraudulent. Perhaps sub-fields of psychology, and earlier theories, are somewhat problematic, but you can't argue that something like operant conditioning doesn't have any utility.
I mean this at both low and high levels. At the low level, there are field-wide issues with reproducibility, p-hacking, sample size and selection, deliberate ignorance of compounding variables, etcetera. At the high level, the field simply cannot do what it claims to be able to do - explain the emergence of the mind and its role in behavior decision making, and will not be able to do so with the current approach that it takes, and it has very little to show in the way of falsifiability and predictive power.
The utility of even the basic stuff like operant conditioning breaks down outside of all but the most constrained lab conditions, but it is largely not discussed for the same reasons I mentioned above - it is too uncomfortable to admit. I think the politics surrounding the 'Rat Park' experiment is an illustration of this.
There are counter-examples - behavioral and drug therapies which "work" (although it's often hard to say _why_ within any definitive proof) - but I don't think they're enough to shore up the whole field against this criticism.
If you want to see it at work go visit the slot machines at your local casino.
I've heard about the Rat Park saga from a few mouths before, so I won't read the wiki article. One thing I've noticed is that people forget that the original claim of the study stands: if the only interesting option is the addictive stimulant, the rats keep going back. The other claim that there's pernicious effects to a utopia is in addition to the other, and both claims I regard as equally instructive to how one would think about incentives in society, that goes beyond rats.
Another edit: A better example of a fraudulent study would be the Stanford Prison Experiment. I don't disagree that bad faith and misguided research is a big problem is social psychology. But I think the problem is more visible in the field now, and hopefully being addressed. 'Behavioural biology' probably holds more promise in the longer term.
And sociology have predictive value, can we agree on that? Putting plots/columns in front of emergency exit (or just small exits) do help the human flow. We can predict and manipulate panic spread, social contagion, how people evacuate...
So i suppose sociology is one of the exception you're talking about, but, realistically, isn't that just because sociological studies and applications have more founding, are easier to recruit for, and have less ethics constraint than other psychologies studies?
It's nothing like economics.
>And sociology have predictive value, can we agree on that?
No, I don't think we can and I think that's the crux of the disagreement.
What big predictions have sociology made that have born to be true?
Your example of emergency exits doesn't fit, and in fact proves the opposite. Those emergency exit signs existed before any sociological study of them. It's not the case that sociologists said "Hey, we just invented emergency exit signs and predict they will save lives," rather they're saying "You know those things that people have been using in emergencies to save lives for decades? Turns out it works."
To be clear, I like sociology and the sociology courses I took I did find enriched my understanding of society at large. But I do not believe sociology helps us predict the future any more than history does (another field I love!). In contrast, fields like climate science say "If you release carbon, temperatures will rise" and that falsifiable prediction has born to be true. And I wager that sociologists will be more like historians with a diversity of opinion, than climate scientists who overwhelmingly agree with falsifiable and predictable claims.
If all economists disappeared, surely we would all be worse off in the long run?
It's definitely not supported by the Austrian school.
You can find slightly more mainstream economics about privately issues currencies as well. Look into the economic history of Canada or Scotland during their free banking era.
(Ironically enough, fractional research banking is crucial to the stability of free market money and banking, but Internet Austrians seem to hate it.)
See also https://www.alt-m.org/2015/07/29/there-was-no-place-like-can...
The question then arises as to whether the state has a responsibility to manage inflation and unemployment.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore doesn't do anything about interest rates. Neither does the equivalent institution in Hong Kong.
The policy lever in Singapore is the foreign exchange rate. In Hong Kong, they more or less just fix the exchange rate to the USD.
Singapore happens to have lots of government debt for weird reasons. Hong Kong has almost none. (And you could easily imagine a version Singapore without government debt.) So there wouldn't necessarily be deposit rates or bond coupons to set at all.
In general, economies also don't need central banks. Many economies do just fine without them.
Good examples today are lots of smaller economies that just don't bother with their own currencies, the process is commonly called 'dollarisation'. But historically we also had examples of successful large economies with privately issues means of payment and minimal government regulation. The free banking episodes in eg Canada, Scotland or Australia are well documented.
.. until you need a lender of last resort.
> lots of smaller economies that just don't bother with their own currencies, the process is commonly called 'dollarisation'
Also the Eurozone. And there we saw what the risk is under a real shock of having debt in externally-controlled currency.
Describing dollarisation as being without a central bank is like "serverless"; there is a server/central bank, but it's in the US and occasionally goes down for reasons outside your control or understanding.
(In fact, private Canadian banks usually played something like a lender of last resort to American banks in their recurring financial crises.)
The Eurozone is a mess, that's true.
Dollarisation in the strict sense of using the USD is useful when your domestic institutions crash more often than the US.
But in the wider sense, currency substitution still makes sense.
However, do keep in mind that these efforts really work best when the provision of currency is regulated just like making shoes or any other industry.
Historically, many of these economies with privately issued currency ran on some sort of metal standard. Which is similar to dollarisation plus local banks issuing their own deposits and notes promising to pay the bearer in USD.
(Also historically, no single bank ever developed a monopoly on issuing currency, but they quickly settled on a common standard of accounting.
Also do keep in mind that the US experiments with private bank notes were bonkers, just like the rest of the regulation of their banking system. Look to eg Canada or Scotland for how to run a more proper system.)
All other stuff a state do, is extras.
There were stateless societies with things like social welfare and public health and so on.
But the purpose of the state itself, as organization, is organize for war, states not only can exist without economists, they exist for 5000+ years, and for much of that time without any economist existing, and some states right now still don't rely on economists.
EDIT: if you disagree with me, explain why, do not downvote.
Citation needed (unless we're talking about village-sized communities sharing harvest and giving access to a witch doctor, which is not the same thing, logistically)
States certainly existed without economists, but the world doesn't half look richer since states started caring more about economist hobby horses like trade policies, monetary stability, investment and human capital and less about gold reserves and military action to expand them.
Apart from anything else, they came up with an awful lot of influential arguments about purposes for and measures of prestige of states other than efficiently plundering their neighbours
The economist hobby horses you mention do mean that you nations can spend more resources on their military. That's both in the steady state, and what extras they can mobilize in terms of emergencies.
In this way, they're another step of the natural way people divide into hierarchies as the group size grows beyond a size that's manageable through social conventions (which happens to be more or less Dunbar's number).
Now that explains why they exist and why people accept them. As for their purpose, I'm reminded of the good ol' POSIWID - "the purpose of a system is what it does".
 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_purpose_of_a_system_is_wha...
For example: During early Roman Empire era, they had a few rivals that were states themselves, and they dedicated most of the resources defending against them, but there was lots of wars and skirmishes with "barbarians", many that were considered a nation in the ethnic sense (Germania, Alemannia, Lusitania, etc...) but weren't states, they were bigger than dunbar number but their coordination in the nation sense, were more of a league of settlements and warbands, not an organized state, they had many things modern states do, like ways to provide for the old, law enforcement and so on, but had no central command for the army.
Many of these people were just crushed by states that did exist, often outright genocided (for example the Helvetii), the ones that survived (for example the precursors of modern Germany and France) eventaully became states themselves to be able to defend themselves.
The major exception was peoples living in places where agriculture is not possible, seemly agriculture is a sort of requeriment for a state to exist, so in the eurasian steppe/desert, african desert and so on, some non-state nations survived for a long time (for example Mongolia, although now they are a state too, still, they moved their capital to a place where agriculture is possible).
Seemly the "weirdest" states now in some senses, are the states that became possible because of our current oil-based economy, states that became fully sedentary despite not having enough food, because they export oil and buy food or irrigation equipment/water (for example UAE)
Of course, later on thermodynamics helped build better engines to an extent. But the causation is from engineering to science.
Similar for modern states.
Also specifically central banks are a fairly recent idea in many parts of the world. And areas like Canada, Scotland, Australia etc did just fine without them, or actually even better.
(I actually do like economics and think it's very important and useful. But politicians and civil servants can run a modern state just fine without economists.)
I'm going a bit out of bounds here, but I think we've already entered into an early phase of post-statehood already, but haven't really realized it yet. The American nation is completely subservient to those manning the helm of the financial structure and serves no other purpose to allow it to continue operating as smoothly as possible until there is no more profit left to extract. Politics and material conditions have become completely detached from each other, and I think the past two elections have completely proven this.
There are still large ideological and political voids to explore. Where are the non-Marxist populist economists? Where are the conservative socialists? Why must we choose between 1800s Marxism and 21st century neoliberalism? People have been crying wolf about fascism a lot lately, but I think it there is a real danger that true fascism will emerge in a serious way once again once the dominoes start to fall in a few years if viable alternatives aren't developed in the meantime.
Marx is kind of overrated anyway. (And, of course, 'Marxism' is being thrown around as a general accusation a lot. Just like 'neoliberalism' was a popular slur.)
There have been some of those; populist handouts are popular with authoritarian leaders. Arguably this was the origin of fascism - explicitly anti-communist populist arguments for solutions to the bad economic conditions of the 1930s.
> Where are the conservative socialists?
Do Fabianism and Blairism meet this description?
The economic modeling principle of 'rational expectations' is one attempt to deal with exactly the thing you pointed out. Basically it says that you have to assume that in aggregate people in your model economy are at least as smart as your model.
But rational expecations' got a bad rep amongst non-economists.
Still seems to be overdoing the rational bit when something like 1/3 of americans believe in ghosts, UFOs and so on.
> Rational expectations theories were developed in response to perceived flaws in theories based on adaptive expectations. Under adaptive expectations, expectations of the future value of an economic variable are based on past values. For example, people would be assumed to predict inflation by looking at inflation last year and in previous years. Under adaptive expectations, if the economy suffers from constantly rising inflation rates (perhaps due to government policies), people would be assumed to always underestimate inflation. Many economists have regarded this as unrealistic, believing that rational individuals would sooner or later realize the trend and take it into account in forming their expectations.
Even people believing in ghosts might be able to acquire the necessary cynicism.
There's a list of Bernanke quotes linked ( https://www.businessinsider.com/bernanke-quotes-2010-12?r=US... ) but I'm not clear which ones of those the author disagrees with, and some of them clearly fall into the good faith or bad faith bad prediction category. The ones about inflation seem broadly correct even in hindsight; the normal US inflation indicators have remained low.
(I would say a bigger problem in economics is the "freshwater/saltwater" distinction; economists can't even agree on Keynes, and he's dead)
Yes, of course it matters! Suppose there was a rare form of brain cancer that could only kill you if you found out you had it. In that case we would rapidly rethink what medical ethics requires of doctors. Surely it would not be beyond the pale to argue that a doctor is not only ethically in the clear to not tell you that you had this form of cancer, but in fact might have a moral obligation not to tell you.
This is exactly the position some people believe that economists are in vis-à-vis markets. Markets are basically dumb amalgamations of human choices and sometimes react to information pathologically. According to the argument, certain people have an obligation to project confidence in the market if that will lead to better outcomes, even if logically the market should start ignoring you if it expects that you'd lie.
I don't know whether I buy the argument or not, but it's certainly not stupid!
But my Bayesian prior is that when the doctor is trying to shoot me, s/he's trying to kill me.
And when an economist is lying to me, they're trying to defraud / manipulate me.
And I think that economist situation is pretty similar in that regard in the long term.
Since multiple people have thought my point hinges on whether the example is reasonable, let me reconstruct the argument given in the post.
1. It's always morally unacceptable for a doctor to lie to a patient, regardless of his / her reasons for doing so.
2. The economist's profession is like that of the doctor in certain important respects: "The central problem with allowing for, and consenting to, any untruthfulness is that it undermines essential trust between professionals of the field and the rest of us."
3. Therefore pro-social lying by economists is wrong (just as it's wrong in the case of the doctor).
I think the claims in the article rely quite heavily on our intuition that it's never acceptable for a doctor to lie to us, even for "prosocial" reasons. (We don't have such intuitions for economists, apparently, and that's why our intuitions about doctors are so important for the argument.)
But this claim is basically not defended, and my point is that it's very easy to come up with cases in which it's not only morally acceptable for a doctor to lie to you, but in fact might be morally obligatory. This means that the argument fails.
The fact that the argument fails doesn't mean that it is okay (in any real life situation) for a doctor (or an economist) to lie to you. But the fact that the argument fails is something worth noting, I think, in comments about the article.
Your claim it's "very easy" to come up with examples would have convinced me more if you hadn't relied on the extremely contrived example of a cancer that would kill you if and only if you knew you had it. That made me think you had really struggled a lot to come up with realistic examples.
I don't find that easy at all. That is the thing, all those doctors examples are either super unlikely to ever happen or happen due to non-medical reason. I mean, ok, if I am SS man and it is WWII and doctor is saving someone ... but I don't live in country with current genocide and the core issue is not doctor specific.
The doctors in fact used to routinely lie to patient and family to "protect" their feelings. In generation of my parents/grandparents, the doctor would not tell you about bad prognosis. And that generation do not trust doctors when they tell them it is going to be ok.
Current doctors (at least here) are routinely acting more confident then they should when they are more of guessing. Or they just don't explain. And result is predictable - people turn to internet and word of mount from friends to fill the gaps.
Markets don’t react to mere knowledge of them, like in your magical thought experiment.
Markets react to actions determined not by the knowledge itself but by discrete reactions to the knowledge called thoughts.
If economists hadn’t given up on knowledge oh about a century ago or so, we might not be so addicted to this pattern of spiraling anti-intellect.
My comparison is intentionally exaggerated. The post claims that it doesn't matter what reason the doctor has for telling you a lie, that it's just obviously wrong. I think this is ludicrous. If it's sometimes permissible for a doctor to lie, then it might also be permissible for an economist to lie.
I don't really follow the rest of what you're claiming, perhaps because you're responding to some point that I haven't made. In particular you seem to have a bone to pick with economists, and this is very vague:
> Markets react to actions determined not by the knowledge itself but by discrete reactions to the knowledge called thoughts.
You're writing this as if everybody knows what you're referring to, but I really don't. What are you referring to? What does it mean for someone to "give up on knowledge"?
Neither is an academic economist that passively permits government officials to lie using scientific language.
The issue here is not the lying. The issue is the status of economics as a science. Once that status is gone, no one is obliged to listen to them any more than astrologists.
> Just as doctors must be honest, so too must we. Deception is not always wrong – there are extraordinary cases when we understand a doctor’s need to lie. I imagine doctors overstate their confidence to children before a particularly complicated surgery. Sometimes – very rarely – it may be the best option among only very bad options. Deception should be a last resort, not the rule. As we look to the future, the field of economics must cease it’s cavalier compliance with lying – even with perceived prosocial lying.
I find this statement rather odd and clearly incompatible with the very specific claim that "we fervently and unequivocally condemn deceit of any kind in the medical field". Well, do we or don't we?
In any case, you're correct that the article taken as a whole is a bit more careful. In my comment I'm telescoping in a bit on the one claim about doctors and the role our intuitions about honesty in the medical field are supposed to play in the argument.
Economics is a form of science. Maybe not a hard science, but there are honest ambitions to understand the world. Much of it is historical, since it is based on narratives that are taken to explain observed phenomena. The models are then vague and unprecise.
However, government officials and their experts are not pursuing science. They are literally trying to change the state of a system by intervening. The use of academic language is more of an instrument in this, rather than anything to do with science.
I even find the phrasing "the economics profession" (referring to government officials) problematic since obscures policy making in language that sounds scientific.
Science won't set your goals for you, it can at most suggest what is the most efficient way to get from X to Y, yet there are unreasonable expectations being placed by society on scientific research (we are seeing this very clearly with covid and GW).
The net result is that science is often used as a shield by politicians, and those bullshit operations are often successful because the general public is so hopelessly uneducated about how science works.
If you quote the low end of the confidence interval, and claim that climate change is a manageable inconvenience, you'll be (justifiably) called out by climate scientists.
If you quote the high end of the confidence interval, and elicit a picture of catastrophic consequences, mass migrations, or even runaway greenhouse effects, the climate scientists are suspiciously aloof. Even if you add zealous insistence that not a single country in the world will benefit from the warming; and that we're hurtling towards becoming the next Venus.
I'm not sure I agree with that perception, but even if it were, I don't find that suspicious. It may be that climate scientists are already aware that the current policies are not doing enough to avert the scenario's at the middle end of the confidence interval, so they know the high-end effects are becoming more likely each year.
zealous insistence that not a single country in the world will benefit from the warming
By all means, name a country that's completely self-sufficient for its current development level and is in a climate that can tolerate a 10%-deviation in any direction, and I'm sure many people will be able to suggest scenario's how that country will be negatively affected by the volatility of international markets or relations that are projected to occur in the second half of this century.
I am not commenting on the actual scientific merit of the field, I am only commenting on how the science is communicated to the public, and how that has impacted it's credibility amongst certain (rather large) groups of people.
Predictions of climate catastrophe have been heavily promoted with the public for decades, and typically in a way that either implies or explicitly states a very high level of confidence. Anybody who's lived long enough will have seen multiple predictions of this nature fail to materialize.
It's pretty clear to me at least that the rationale behind this style of science communication is that it will scare people, which will motivate them to take action, which will result in better outcomes. So these misrepresentations (or lies depending on how you look at things) are entirely justified by the desired ends that the people who propagate them hope to achieve. However, one of the other outcomes they achieve is that some people notice this and come to the conclusion that the field simply lacks credibility and can be safely ignored, or even that public derision of the field is justified. Such people can easily point to the historical failures of the field to justify their position.
A lot of people will say that the people who hold these views are simply stupid, and that their views are incredibly harmful. While that might be true, it doesn't mitigate any of the harm that has been caused by the (what I would see as) highly irresponsible communication strategy employed by many of the fields scientists and advocates.
Lying to the public is a dangerous game. It disappoints me that people give these orgs a free pass.
Example: "I think that a meteor bigger than the Sun is on its way to hit the Earth could be bad news for the economy. However, it may also mean that markets will flourish."
They do it because, unlike our profession, it's hard to find out when you're wrong right away so they read a lot of competing theories and know that the models are only pale comparisons to all the swirling forces and incentives. What's the likelihood of the DPRK giving up their nukes in the next 5 years? 0.1%? Well if they do it will have massive ramifications on Asian and global security. Moving billions of dollars around. And so on.
So they hedge. And the usually use squishy language when they talk to the public. But for finance professionals they talk more in terms of distributions of outcomes or possible complications. It's a messy science.
I truly shake my head at the software developers who expect economists to give an accurate point forecast of a binary coin-toss, and then deride their expertise as a sham when they describe the scenarios that follow the two outcomes instead.
(And also shake my head at voters who believe "economists" hand-picked by politicians to affirm their policies. In a profession of a million people you can find one to support any policy even if 99% of the profession don't agree -- just like you can find a "computer scientist" who will promise you self-driving cars on the street within three years if you just pay him a million dollar consulting fee.)
Okay, sure they throw around basic things, but that's the typical commercialization of every fundamental indicator. They usually tell you nothing, worse they usually show you a graph of some data and tell you a story. Okay, how can you validate it? Okay, maybe you can argue with parts of it. Maybe the idea is to just throw ideas around, so then the viewers can do the same! Great but that's basically a stand up comedy with econ/finance anti-jokes.
To say that someone is telling a lie (as in the article examples) implies he/she knows the truth and then mis-represents it (intentionally).
I have some doubts that most economists actually know the truth, very often they seem more like reporting their own take on some unproved (and often unprovable) theory, which can be stretched to mean everything and the contrary of it, and that causes the "vagueness" you highlight.
Once said that predictions are tough, expecially when they are about the future, I think that astrologists are not that much worse in accuracy than the economists you see on TV.
I tried to look up delinquency rates and ... it seems in March 2007 there was an uptick, but it was simply not significant at that point in time.
Sure, later Ben dropped the ball, and thought that the current interest rate is so low, that it should hold, and the economy will "muddle through". Then when in 2008 Jan he realized shit is already well in the high interaction regime with the proverbial fan he got the board to cut rates drastically.
The question the author should be asking. Effectively timed intervention would have been more helpful at preventing the financial panic than 'prosocial lying', so the mainstream explanation that Bernanke was just wrong has a lot going for it
But in 2007 March, when he delivered that statement, was he in accordance with best practices, best models about economics, and was he communicating about the data, indicators, possibilities, models and all that in the best way (known at the time to be the most optimal)?
I'm not trying to "whitewash" him, but this whole piece is just about being very truthful, maximally correct with regards to economics. Look at the data and just the data, not your wishes. But then it seems that's not happening when it comes to its first economics related example.
To follow up on the doctor analogy: First, I expect the doctor to tell me what he finds. For instance, I can't blame him for not finding pathologies for which I don't have a symptom yet.
Secondly, the state of any scientific knowledge is limited. Especially in economy, to explain ongoing new phenomenons is already a prowess, to accurately and convincingly anticipate them is sorcery. I expect economists to have heated debates among themselves, and the state of established knowledge to be lagging behind.
Thirdly, I don't expect my doctor to tell to Congress what he finds. There is a distinction between applying professionally an expertise and political statements. The Chair of the Fed has to do both both, having to analyse the situation accurately and to measure public statements. That goes to the question of how decisions are taken in a democracy.
Finally, as for op-ed, even written by Nobel prized economists, they are labelled as opinions. I appreciate Paul Krugman column, but one feature of weekly opinions is that they inevitably contain contradictions.
Yes, it's very paternalistic, but it's also how you maintain order and the smooth running of things in big societies (provided you're doing it in good faith - but that's a very different discussion).
This is also why defense and foreign policy are filled with liars: We need them to lie about the right things. It's not a problem until your society is destabilised by other factors such as income inequality or rampant corruption, after which point they only serve to further undermine the public trust in the institution.
If this were true, it would be used to predict stock prices, ergo, economics is a field that can likely only learn about long term historical trends and potential long term future trends, and can tell us mostly nothing about short term effects of policy in the 1-2 year future.
Economics has a nearly impossible time predicting stock prices - the Lucas critique applies hundredfold here, if market participants learn of more accurate economic predictions, they would immediately incorporate in their models and stock prices would have already adapted. (Not to speak of the randomness that a market with a billion participants exhibit, much of which is not really random but unexplainable by a a broad-strokes economic model...)
I'll develop: GDP growth is `(population growth) * (productivity gains) * ß` basically, right? So GDP per capita is productivity gain. Any person/economist with a better view on this is welcome, i mostly took that from economics 101 (or equivalent) in my first year, when i still did not know what i wanted to do.
Is the human body more productive than 20 years ago? is the human mind more productive than 20 years ago? No, not really, but we had two thing that helped us: more energy, and Moore's Law. Once our Carnot machines were optimized and our electric motors available, productivity gains caused by efficiency became marginal, and the best way to increase productivity was to install more machines. There is a hard 100% limit that physic impose us on electric motors, and a hard 64% Carnot's law impose us on thermic motors anyway, so no efficiency gains here.
The same way, Moore's law will stop one day. I'll be optimist and believe we will have CPU enter the nano dimension. And as smaller size equal smaller energy use, let's say this will be *10 efficiency (smaller mean they will break more easily too). Really unlikely, but let's assume that.
So GDP growth will be driven/limitied by energy output in the forseeable future, once we will recover from Covid.
Sure, in a world where we've perfected everything. GDP growth will cease to be a viable goal (and probably we'll all be too well fed and entertained to care). But until we reach the point of using all our resources optimally, it's reasonable to assume expansion and better allocation of production is a sensible goal, and to achieve it economists are arguing against more short-term, mutable obstacles like human rules.
It's a bit like the probable existence of hard physical limits to human lifespan doesn't invalidate the field of medicine. Or indeed, the probability that we're
not smarter than twenty years ago doesn't invalidate the field of computer science's attempts to find more efficient ways of handling data,
(Draws breath and decides to soldier on with the point because it's a sufficient important one).
Without getting into pro-anti-Trump-Biden BS and entirely separate from all of that, Fauci did this. He lied about the utility of masks in pandemic prevention "for the greater good." How do we know? Because Jon Doe's racist blog post said it was 5G conspiracies! No. Absolutely not.
We know he did it because he said so himself. 
I think this is a huge problem. If your job is to be convincing to the population about things that large numbers of the population won't, can't, don't, or just plain couldn't be bothered to, understand and you lie and then get caught or confess as is highly likely, you've completely undermined any authority the position you hold had. You spend the currency of that position you inherited from previous holders (or maybe even built yourself over time). The CDC says! Sure, but is it a lie "for the greater good or other reasons" this time? Again? Why is that even a valid question to ask, ever?
The CDC is pretty good. Fauci is pretty good on the standards of these things. Yet people don't trust the CDC and Fauci. There's one pretty good reason why someone might not. He's willing to knowingly tell factual lies and I wish he wasn't.
CDC/Fauci is just an example of the thing. Someone understands they have the power to cheat for the greater good and decide to exercise that power. The bill always comes due. Always. And this seems to be the case lately accross a very wide range of fields where simple, obvious, well supported factual information is being widely rejected due to a total lack of trust. Is that something we can get back in the bottle?
Disclosure: I am personally very much in favor of the CDC and Fauci.
Sometimes people in authority lie to manage hell scapes. It’s a game theoretic choice and probabilistic by nature. If you want to be upset at someone then do some more research. There’s plenty to go around.
PR has been incredibly important in the worldwide response to Covid-19. You can save the economy by telling people things are better than they really are, but you can save millions of lives telling people things are worse.
Or ones with a history of being wrong about everything every time, such as Neil Ferguson.
Economists deal with "second order problems" i.e. whatever insights they come up with, regardless of how true or untrue it is, is absorbed by the market and quickly tested to be correct and adopted, which is then countered, which makes it ineffective... or tested to be wrong and discarded. They're basically solving problems which don't need solving and they're a net disadvantage to the market because the only effect they have is the effort put into testing their ideas.
Since they are, at best, non-essential and whatever they say doesn't matter at all, they have the luxury of saying a wide range of things. Among the wide range of things they say, the ones that are selected are those that favor certain crowds.