The art of economics

Collected here are my posts about the changing nature of economics. Olivier Blanchard says "there is room for art as well as science". In these posts, I develop the concept of economics as art: vague, conceptual, imaginative, complex, and subjective. In other words - human.

I should make it clear that I am mainly talking about macroeconomics, although microeconomics is also changing for other reasons.

The problem of mathematics
When the Nile floods fail
The failure of macroeconomics
The necessary arrogance of elites
Spurious precision
No, please don't show me your model


  1. Thanks for the review. I read them all, and I have tried to read all your posts since I first stumbled onto your blog. You obviously expend a lot of energy analyzing our current economic system. And according to one of your blog posts you get little financial return for that expenditure. As we say down here in Texas, "that just ain't right."

    Am I right in thinking that your view on our current economic system is that it is the best we can have? Or is your view that it needs an overhaul? I think it is the latter. I think that the times it seems to work are mere accidents, but those accidents keep it alive.

    As I once said to you, I think you are well-qualified to design a new system of economics--one that most ordinary citizens will be able to understand, and one that will enable them to have equal access to resources and opportunities that will enable them to go as far, economically, as their efforts and talents can take them. Our current economic system can never do that.

    If you don't want to redesign our failed system, that please point to a redesign that you think will work. Or at least ideas that will make our current system better.

    Showing what is wrong with the current system is a losing proposition. Those with the power to fix the problems you point out do not want change, and you know it.

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  3. Apt quotes from tweets:

    "heterodox or orthodox one of these days you will both have to look at data"

    "debate missed need both to have harsh confrontation with data."

    "good point"

    Tweets with good point on data:

    Danny Blanchflower ‏@D_Blanchflower Aug 20 Wyoming, USA

    @Noahpinion @Frances_Coppola @ProfSteveKeen @JoMicheII @ari1601 heterodox or orthodox one of these days you will both have to look at data

    Danny Blanchflower ‏@D_Blanchflower Aug 20 Wyoming, USA

    @ProfSteveKeen @politybooks @Noahpinion @Frances_Coppola @JoMicheII @ari1601 debate missed need both to have harsh confrontation with data.

    (((FrancesCoppola))) ‏@Frances_Coppola Aug 20

    @D_Blanchflower @ProfSteveKeen @politybooks @Noahpinion @JoMicheII @ari1601 good point

  4. I can't wait to hear what you think about "the Euro" by Joseph Stiglitz.

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  6. It would all be fine, if everyone was conscious that it's an art. Problem is, that this kind of art can cause and has caused a lot of harm, because it's used to justify policy decisions in the real world. I would have no problem with economists having an elitist view of themselves as artists, but not viewing them as elitist experts of how to organize our societies.


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