Good/Bad Leaders Are Criticised All Alike
December 21, 2006 4:39am CST
Economic conditions and policies affect everyone. I wonder why not everyone takes economics in their studies. And since most of us do not study economics, why are there so many who are so ready to comment on the economic affairs and criticise the policies? Don't they have a single bit of worrisome that their rants turn out to be untrue and superficial, that in the process they reveal merely a deficiency of understanding? Perhaps the usual large camp of vociferous peers at their side helps assuage this insecurity. The only answer one could surmise is most people see economics as a simple discipline. Even a postdoctoral study in it would bring us where common sense would lead us to. But the truth is "economics is a difficult and technical subject but nobody will believe it", quoted from J.M. Keynes. We can imagine how thankless the job and how hard the position is for a well-informed and well-intentioned government. For any unfavourable announcement, the public almost always does not want to listen and does not believe in the government's explanations, but wants to make noises that are non sequitur (to an expert). Paul Krugman, for long in his writings, has been attempting "to explode some plausible-sounding idea that happens to be false or to promote some implausible, disturbing idea that happens to be true", and in the end has managed to make enemies. I remember reading about the uproar he ignited by answering "none" to a question about North American Free Trade Agreement's effect on the US employment. My point is, economic conclusions can be counter-intuitive. The most commonly cited would be Ricardo's Comparative Advantage. On this, Krugman wrote a long essay explaining why many smart people don't understand it and are not ashamed of their failure.