Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Remind me why we have economists again?

From Slate:
The New York Times leads with a look at how a growing number of economists now believe that current economic woes aren't going away in the near future as tight credit and trouble in the job market could continue until late next year.

Hey! Look! Shinola! Let's step in it!

No, no, that was definitely shit. Not shinola at all. Really shouldn't have stepped in that.

I mean, we let economists call themselves scientists because they're supposed to have predictive models. I'm pretty sure that without a predictive model, you're not a scientist. So... shouldn't this number have grown between 1997 and, say, 2002, and just been holding steady since then? Well, OK. Maybe into mid-2003. But, by a few months after the Invasion of Iraq, everything that's hurting us now was in place. Economists should have been predicting disaster then, when we could have mitigated it.


nephos said...

Economists still lack a basic theory. They really are like the wizard of oz - applying complex mathematical operations to empirically derived expressions that apply to the instant but not in general. It's no wonder they can't predict the future.

Of course, this is the same problem that makes climate hard to predict too. Much of what is used in models is mere parameterization. But at least this is willingly acknowledged as being an important possible failing. Perhaps its easier to acknowledge weaknesses when most of what climate science has is based in rock-solid physics.

malechem said...

Wouldn't they have to involve ballooning somehow to be like the Wizard of Oz? As you know, I recently reread the Wizard of Oz and don't recall any mathematical operations.

And I don't know what the breakdown between Physics, model results and empiricism is in what climate science has, but I'm not sure it's mostly Physics. Apparently, I'm feeling disagreeable.