Economists Are The New Astrologers

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Andrew Syrios via The Mises Institute,

When Christopher Nolan was promoting his previous film Interstellar, he made the casual observation that “Take a field like economics for example. [Unlike physics] you have real material things and it can’t predict anything. It’s always wrong.” There is a lot more truth in that statement than most academic economists would like to admit.

Alan Jay Levinovitz recently put forth the provocative argument that economics is “The New Astrology.” He notes that “surveys indicate that economists see their discipline as ‘the most scientific of the social sciences.’” But unfortunately “real-world history tells a different story, of mathematical models masquerading as science and a public eager to buy them, mistaking elegant equations for empirical accuracy.”

Indeed, Levinovitz goes on to observe that,

The failure of the field to predict the 2008 crisis has also been well-documented. In 2003, for example, only five years before the Great Recession, the Nobel Laureate Robert E Lucas Jr told the American Economic Association that ‘macroeconomics ... has succeeded: its central problem of depression prevention has been solved’.


Short-term predictions fair little better — in April 2014, for instance, a survey of 67 economists yielded 100 per cent consensus: interest rates would rise over the next six months. Instead, they fell. A lot.

There are, of course, many other examples of the failure of mathematical models in economics. The model Christina Romer put together during the height of the Great Recession concluded that unemployment could go as high as 8.8 percent without the economic stimulus bill. With the stimulus, unemployment went over 10 percent. The spectacular failure of Long Term Capital Management, which was built solely upon investing on mathematical models, is another great example. Indeed, Daniel Kahneman found the “correlations was .01” when asked to evaluate the investment outcomes of 28 different advisors. Warren Buffet is currently crushing the hedge fund Protégé Partners in their ten year, one million dollar bet. (Buffett picked an index fund that invests in the S&P 500.) Finance and economics are linked at the hip in this overconfident, mathematical malaise it would seem.

Returning to Levinovitz, the problem as he sees it is that these highly complicated models built with mystifying and ingenious mathematical equations are completely useless if they are erected upon false assumptions. You may have built the most luxurious mansion imaginable, but if you built it on a hill of sand it might as well be a house of cards.

Think of the Ptolemaic model of the universe that put the Earth at the very center. The Ancient Greeks would notice that the stars would move across the sky, then stop, then go backward, then start moving forward again. To resolve this conundrum, Claudius Ptolemaeus put together an ingenious model of “circles within circles.” Each star not only orbited around the Earth along a given trajectory, but also maintained a secondary orbit around a point moving along the first orbit to make it appear from the Earth that the star would sometimes move backward.

The geocentric model of the universe was a stupendous mathematical achievement, but alas, it was all for naught given the assumptions it was built on were completely false.

Levinovitz uses the example of astrology, noting that,

As an extreme example, take the extraordinary success of Evangeline Adams, a turn-of-the-20th-century astrologer whose clients included the president of Prudential Insurance, two presidents of the New York Stock Exchange, the steel magnate Charles M Schwab, and the banker J P Morgan. To understand why titans of finance would consult Adams about the market, it is essential to recall that astrology used to be a technical discipline, requiring reams of astronomical data and mastery of specialised mathematical formulas. "An astrologer" is, in fact, the Oxford English Dictionary’s second definition of "mathematician." For centuries, mapping stars was the job of mathematicians, a job motivated and funded by the widespread belief that star-maps were good guides to earthly affairs. The best astrology required the best astronomy, and the best astronomy was done by mathematicians — exactly the kind of person whose authority might appeal to bankers and financiers.

When Adams was eventually arrested in 1914 for laws that forbade astrology, “it was her mathematics that eventually exonerated her.” And this is by no means just a Western phenomenon. Another example the author references is the similarly mathematically impressive work done regarding Li in Ancient China. Li was also a mathematical model of the stars and for whatever reason, thought to be “essential to good governance.”

Obviously it wasn’t, but the Chinese spent “astronomical sums refining mathematical models of the stars.” As we do with much that passes for economics today.

Interestingly enough, Levinovitz quotes several famous Keynesian and neo-classical economists, including Paul Romer, who criticized the “Mathiness in the Theory of Economic Growth” and the man who’s always right (except when he isn’t) Paul Krugman. In this instance, though, Krugman is mostly correct observing that “As I see it, the economics profession went astray because economists, as a group, mistook beauty, clad in impressive-looking mathematics, for truth.”

But this reliance on math to hide the underlying flaws in an economic theory sounds like it falls perfectly in line with “The Pretense of Knowledge” that Friedrich Hayek warned about all those years ago.

Since then, many economists believed they had made economics into a scientific discipline based on modeling and empirical testing. They assured us that by using copious amounts of data and fine-tuned mathematical models they could centrally plan an economy, eliminate the business cycle and increase economic growth and prosperity. And they were wrong.

Surprisingly, Levinovitz does not use the word “econometrics” because that’s the first thing that came to my mind while reading his essay. The econometric approach may be the best example of the mathematical arrogance Levinovitz describes. The flaws in its internal reasoning become obvious, however, as you peel away the math, as Robert Murphy shows,

The econometric approach to stock price movements is analogous to a meteorologist who looks for correlations between various measurements of atmospheric conditions. For example, he might find that the temperature on any given day is a very good predictor of the temperature on the following day. But no meteorologist would believe that the reading on the thermometer one day somehow caused the reading the next day; he knows that the correlation is due to the fact that the true causal factors — such as the angle of the earth relative to its orbital plane around the sun — do not change much from one day to the next.


Unfortunately, this distinction between causation and correlation is not stressed in econometrics. Indeed, for economists truly committed to the positive method, there can be no such distinction. Although the econometric pioneers may understand why certain assumptions are made and can offer a priori justifications such as “rational expectations” for the details of a particular model, the students of such pioneers are often caught up in the mathematical technicalities and lose sight of the true causes of economic phenomena.

But more fundamentally, as Austrian economist Frank Shostak notes, “In the natural sciences, a laboratory experiment can isolate various elements and their movements. There is no equivalent in the discipline of economics. The employment of econometrics and econometric model-building is an attempt to produce a laboratory where controlled experiments can be conducted.”

The result is that economic forecasts are usually just wrong.

Levinovitz believes there is a conflict of interest at the heart of academic economics. He approvingly quotes one economist saying “The interest of the profession is in pursuing its analysis in a language that’s inaccessible to laypeople and even some economists. What we’ve done is monopolise this kind of expertise.” And furthermore, “…that gives us power.”

But it’s more than even just that. It’s not just that economists fails to make accurate predictions or that hedge funds fail to beat the market. If economics is unable to provide bureaucrats with the ability to effectively guide and control an economy, the best alternative would be to turn it back over the market. It’s not just that “mathiness” gives economists “power.” In many ways, it’s the façade that justifies a large number of them having jobs in the first place.

It appears that Levinovitz hasn’t quite grasped the full consequences of the argument he has espoused; namely that because economics models are mostly useless and cannot predict the future with any sort of certainty, then centrally directing an economy would be effectively like flying blind. The failure of economic models to pan out is simply more proof of the pretense of knowledge. And it’s not more knowledge that we need, it’s more humility. The humility to know that “wise” bureaucrats are not the best at directing a market — market participants themselves are.


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TeamDepends's picture

You mean asstrologers, Ty?

Blue Balls's picture

I predict the Fed will print until people revolt.

auricle's picture

The only revolting the sheep will do is demand more printing because that's all they know about our current economic system. 

Captain Chlamydia's picture

Five Things They Don’t Tell You About Economics by Ha-Joon Chang

1: 95% of economics is common sense You don’t need a degree to understand it. We’ve got this profession wrong; a lot of professional economists think what they do is too difficult for ordinary people. You’d be surprised how often these people are stupid enough to say things, at least in private, like ‘you wouldn’t understand what I do even if I explained it to you’. If you cannot explain it to other people, you have the problem. People express strong opinions on all sorts of things despite not having the appropriate expertise: climate change, gay marriage, the Iraq War, nuclear power stations. But when it comes to economic issues, many people are not even interested, not to speak of not having a strong opinion about them. When was the last time you had a debate on the future of the Euro, inequality in China or the American manufacturing industry, despite the fact that these issues can have a huge impact on your life, wherever you live?

2: Economics is not a science Despite what the experts want you to believe, there is more than one way of ‘doing’ economics. People have been led to believe that, like physics or chemistry, economics is a ‘science’, in which there is only one correct answer to everything; thus non-experts should simply accept the ‘professional consensus’ and stop thinking about it. Contrary to what most economists would have you believe, there isn’t just one kind of economics – Neoclassical economics. In fact there are no less than nine different kinds, or schools, as they are often known. And none of these schools can claim superiority over others and still less monopoly over truth. I accept that being suddenly asked to taste nine different flavours of ice cream when you had thought that there was only one plain vanilla can be quite overwhelming. In order to help, I attach here a simple table that will help you overcome your initial fear.

3: Economics is politics Economic arguments are often justification for what politicians want to do anyway. Economics is a political argument. It is not – and can never be – a science. Behind every economic policy and corporate action that affect our lives – the minimum wage, outsourcing, social security, food safety, pensions and whatnot – lies some economic theory that either has inspired those actions or, more frequently, is providing justification of what those in power want to do anyway. Only when we know that there are different economic theories will we be able to tell those in power that they are wrong to tell us that ‘there is no alternative’ (TINA), as Margaret Thatcher once infamously put it in defence of her controversial policies.

4: Never trust an economist It is one thing not to foresee the financial crisis; it’s another not to have changed anything since. Most economists were caught completely by surprise by the 2008 global financial crisis. Not only that, they have not been able to come up with decent solutions to the ongoing aftermaths of that crisis. Given all this, economics seems to suffer from a serious case of megalomania. The financial crisis has been a brutal reminder that we cannot leave our economy to professional economists and other ‘technocrats’. We should all get involved in its management – as active economic citizens.

5: We have to reclaim economics for the people It’s too important to be left to the experts alone. You should be willing to challenge professional economists (and, yes, that includes me). They do not have a monopoly over the truth, even when it comes to economic matters. Like many other things in life – learning to ride a bicycle, learning a new language, or learning to use your new tablet computer – being an active economic citizen gets easier over time, once you overcome the initial difficulties and keep practicing it. Unless you are willing and able to challenge the professionals, challenge the experts, what’s the point of having a democracy? There is no excuse for complacency. If you organize and demand reforms then a lot of amazing things happen, but it won’t come easy – we have to fight for it. 


Copyright 2015 by the Worldwide Globals Organization (WGO) 

Iskiab's picture

I wouldn't say economics is like astrology, astrology is more accurate. Economics has never had the predictive power of timing crashes by the lunar cycle and eclipses.

mickeyman's picture

Then the rumour circulated that at night the Fed Governors neglected their sacrifices and prayers. A great depression seized everyone. One day the President said to the Fed Chief, "When will we celebrate the return of normal unemployment rates? I would like to make a journey and return in time for the feast. How long is it until the day of the feast?" The Fed Chief was embarrassed. It had been several days since she had looked at the moon and the stars. She had learned nothing more about their courses. The Fed Chief said, "Wait one more day and I will tell you." The President said, "Thank you. Tomorrow I will come to see you again."

The Fed Chief gathered the Fed Governors together and asked, "Which of you lately has observed the course of the stars?" None of Fed Governors answered, because they had all stayed to listen to the stories of Fiat-do-lar. The Fed Chief asked again, "Hasn't even one of you observed the course of the stars and the position of the moon?"

DWD-MOVIE's picture

I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do…

striped-pad's picture

You should be willing to challenge professional economists (and, yes, that includes me).

I challenge HJC. Economics isn't just politics – there are physical and logical constraints, which can be explored mathematically. For example:

  • In order to own or consume something, it must have been produced first.
  • For every debt owed to someone, there is an equal debt owed by someone else.

Look at people's balance sheets, and you'll see that, apart from production and consumption, economics is a zero-sum game for net worth. Assets and liabilities just get moved from one person to another. (Person here includes corporation, and corporation includes government).

Here's a 2-page outline of a realistic model of the economy.

junction's picture

I predict Endtimes ahead, marked by massive floods and a crooked Congress.  Oh, wait. . .

Doom and Dust's picture

In the natural sciences, a laboratory experiment can isolate various elements and their movements. There is no equivalent in the discipline of economics.

Of course there is, it's called ceteris paribus and it's the mother of all its fuckups.

Economics is ideology in the service of power.

TheGardener's picture

With very best intentions Economics can at best be described as an attempted social  "science". In cry for help appeal even they themselfes call it the dismal science. All her assumptions and conclusions proven wrong all the time at all times this pseaudo-science is a bitch that rode sexy on mathematics.

Wasted a better part of my life reading those semi-religious books before becoming eventually a successful entrepreneur

in spite of all.




NoDebt's picture

Jezuz, all you needed to do was listen to me say that for the last umpeen years on ZH and you could have skipped this whole article.

"Economists are universally the most clueless people on the planet.  Never listen to them."

- NoDebt (Economist)


Chupacabra-322's picture

I've been predicting for quite some time the Criminal Fraud UNITED STATES, CORP. INC., & its Board of Directors aka CONgress are

Tyrannically Lawless.

NoDebt's picture

Well, that's really more of a statement of easily observable fact than a prediction.  But if an economist predicted that same thing it would be the first time one of them ever accurately predicted anything.


Jethro's picture

I disagree.  Astrologers have some credibility.

NoDebt's picture

Agreed.  At least astrologers can take accurate measurements of what they are observing (it's the conclusions they draw from those observations that are up for debate).  Economists usually can't even figure out what the fuck they are observing.

Something about shadows on the wall of a cave comes to mind.


HRH Feant2's picture

Okay, no need to drag Plato into this mess! Leave him out of it!

Jethro's picture

Diogenes lived in a wine barrel and managed to remain relavent.  The Fed?  Not so much.

osolomio's picture

I have saved lives in real time and precisely timed provable statements

with results that cannot be disputed.

We are not asshologers like the economists.

I will give you an extra clue for free> January 2020

Then you can call us fools

Or will it be you?

HRH Feant2's picture

At least astrologers are entertaining. There is nothing entertaining about listening to Old Yeller attempt to sound coherent and rational.

Xenogeist's picture

Over a longer timeframe (10+ years) you can make failry accurtate predictions.  It's the short-term stuff that sells clicks, however.

VWAndy's picture

Turd polishing crack heads.

wcvarones's picture

Yes. My favorite example of a model-worshipping macroeconomist is Wisconsin professor Menzie Chinn.


TheAnswerIs42's picture

One could say the same about "Climate Science"....

Another example of a horrible failure after pouring billions into research and committing trillions to what end?


Dr. Acula's picture

Being incentivized to spread disinfo for the globalists, as the climastrologists are, doesn't make you a scientist.


Puerto Rico is worst than Greece's picture

I thought they already where.

Rex Andrus's picture

Astrologers have been switching to economics since mortgages went mainstream. Right in there with the Russell Trust (it calls to us, moppet), carpetbaggers, scalawags and snake oil salesmen.

Dr. Acula's picture

> there is a conflict of interest at the heart of academic economics.

Sure, the conflict is between seeking truth and greedily lying and obfuscating on behalf of psychopathic socialists, fractional reserve fraudsters, and counterfeiters. Anyone with half a brain can see Keynes "general theory" is utter garbage.

medium giraffe's picture

TLDR: Economics still 74.39% more legit than Political Science


Hkan's picture

Beauty of logic.

css1971's picture

Economics is the long term study of how avoid looking at how money is really created.

Funded usually by those creating the money.

Rebelrebel7's picture

Economists should focus on indisputable absolute certainties. They DO exist!

The problem with economists is that they start by accepting the private central bank fractional reserve debt monetization and try to pretend that the existence of such a system is economically feasible. 


However well people, including myself, may or may not be doing, I am completely convinced that anyone not employed by a Federal Reserve member bank, would be doing far better if the Federal Reserve ceased to exist!

Time and peace of mind are invaluable and cannot be monetized.  The Central Bank policies have destroyed both of those for the majority of Americans. Those who are employed are working longer hours, in addition to remaining connected to their employers and customers at home. Those who are unemployed have no peace of mind and are panic-stricken as to how they will make up for lost time.

Should everyone worship the central bank on bended knees because the  value of their 401ks went up drastically when there was  elatively little in them to begin with, or when their property taxes are raised because the value of their homes have risen?!

I'm sure that things are absolutely astounding in Warren Buffet' s world, he practically owns it, but it basically sucks for the rest of us!

New business creation is at unprecedented lows and business failures are at unprecedented highs!

The entire principal of a debt issued monetary system by a private entity is nothing more than a bank tax on citizens for which they have no right to claim!

If Congress were to resume its responsibility as stipulated in Article 1 Section 8 Clause 5 of the constitution and coin money and regulate its value debt free:

1,) the budget would automatically balance 

2.) There would be no need for income taxes, estate taxes, capital gains taxes, and corporate taxes

3.) There would be no need to reduce spending

If we continue down the yellow brick road of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913:

1.) We will destroy the money supply and the economy if we reduce or pay off the national debt since the money supply is based on debt.

2.) There will be shortfalls in the money supply which will lead to recessions, depressions, and bankruptcies because when the banks issue loans, they create money in the equivalent of the principal of the loan, but do not create the money required to pay the interest on the loan, leaving a shortfall in the money supply of the interest payments required.

3.) We will either have to continue increasing the national debt or destroy the entire economy because the only central bank solution to the shortfall in the money supply created by the interest owed is to issue more debt.

We should not revert back to the gold standard.  It has always ended in failure. The majority of the wealth has ended in the hands of a select few every single time that it has ever been implemented.

The rise of cryptocurrencies has proven how simple it would be to eliminate the central banks. All accounting of a Congress issued currency  must be open to the public at all times. 



Rebelrebel7's picture

For more on this please read The Web of Debt and the Shocking Truth About Our Money System And How We Can Break Free by Ellen Hodgson Brown J.D. 

lew1024's picture

Whose major thesis is that Central Banks should be moved to the state level.

Yeah, I believe that.

YUNOSELL's picture

It is not that they are incorrect. If the wizards behind the curtain at the FED let people know what was really going on in the economy, the whole Ponzi would crumble.

rf80412's picture

Economics is a stellar - pardon the pun - example of a modern religion: i.e. an attempt to derive ought from is.

Economists can study what markets and market actors do, and attempt to identify relationships between cause and effect.  This is valid knowledge.  But where they go wrong is when they bring teleology and/or morality into the picture.  No, "the market" is not humanity's collective consciousness and does not intend anything, least of all universal wealth and/or happiness.  Yes, capitalism is unquestionably effective at producing wealth, but if that's your definition of morality, then there are things capitalism could do to become even more effective at producing wealth: like working people to death.

Radical Marijuana's picture

Another article associated with the Mises Institute which grossly understates the nature of the problem that "economists" are intellectual mercenaries in proportion to how well paid they are to advance the agenda of the international bankers, who have become the best organized gangsters, the banksters, that have been able to influence the vicious spirals of the funding of the political processes for a long time, until the current situation is that, pretty well everywhere, PUBLIC GOVERNMENTS ENFORCE FRAUDS BY PRIVATE BANKS.

Although the article above made some superficially correct statements regarding the possible paradigm shifts which would be necessary to have a genuinely more scientific economics, that can NOT be done unless one perceives the ways that political economy operates INSIDE human ecology. In principle, both economics and ecology are able to genuinely become more scientific. However, doing so is ONLY possible after one includes the overview that MONEY IS MEASUREMENT BACKED BY MURDER.

The essential issues are that human beings and civilization necessarily operate as manifestations of general energy systems, in ways which necessarily match the methods of organized crime. That generates intensifying paradoxes that the biggest and best organized gangsters dominated civilization, and so, were able to dominate the natural languages and philosophy of science, such that there developed sets of consistent contradictions that the biggest and best organized gangsters are able to publicly present themselves as NOT being so, because they were able to develop systems of legalized lies, backed by legalized violence, along with their languages based on the DUALITIES of false fundamental dichotomies and the related impossible ideals.

Although it is theoretically possible to better understand human beings and civilization as energy systems by using UNITARY MECHANISMS, it is politically impossible to do so, because of the long history of warfare being organized crime on larger and larger scales, which was made and maintained the Globalized Neolithic Civilization which exists today, wherein PUBLIC GOVERNMENTS ENFORCE FRAUDS BY PRIVATE BANKS.

Warfare was the oldest and best developed social science, whose successfulness was based on deceits and treacheries. That then became the basis for political economy based on ENFORCED FRAUDS, while about exponentially advancing physical sciences have enabled those ENFORCED FRAUDS to become about exponentially more FRAUDULENT. Economics necessarily developed INSIDE the overall history of warfare, and so, economics must necessarily be understood through appreciation of the principles and methods of organized crime.

False fundamental dichotomies almost totally dominate public perceptions of political economy. The vast majority of people have adapted for generation after generation to living INSIDE sociopolitical systems based on being able to ENFORCE FRAUDS. Nothing about economics can be properly understood without appreciation of how and why the central social facts are those ENFORCED FRAUDS, because all of economics operated INSIDE human ecologies, whereby the death control systems were the most important factors that directed the evolution of human beings and civilization, to become reproducing gangs of robbers.

The article above quotes:

"... ingenious mathematical equations are completely useless if they are erected upon false assumptions ..."

Then that article mentions one of the most important examples of paradigm shifts in the history of science, changing from a geocentric to a heliocentric view of the solar system, which illustrates the general pattern of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, by Thomas S. Kuhn ( .)

The typical material published in the articles and comments on Zero Hedge notices the accumulating apparent anomalies with respect to ENFORCED FRAUDS BECOMING EXPONENTIALLY MORE FRAUDULENT. However, pretty well none of the content published on Zero Hedge, much less anywhere else in the more mainstream media, comes remotely close to going through sufficient series of intellectual scientific revolutions and profound paradigm shifts, such as would be necessary to better understand human beings and civilization in genuinely more scientific ways, since doing so requires admitting and addressing the degree to which "we" are now trapped living inside an oxymoronic scientific dictatorship, which is as deliberately as unscientific regarding itself as that can possibly be!

Economics can only become more scientific within the context of ecology, which is only possible by better understanding the death control systems in general, and especially the murder systems in particular. ONLY after appreciating how and why MONEY IS MEASUREMENT BACKED BY MURDER is it them possible to approach better understanding of how and why the currently existing political economy has become almost totally based on ENFORCING FRAUDS, which primarily operates through the vicious feedback spirals of all aspects of the funding of the political processes.

To better understand human beings and civilization requires more profound paradigm shifts, such as to integrate the changes in the conceptualization of time and space already achieved by advances in mathematical physics. Moreover, doing so also should continue through the automatically associated profound paradigm shifts in the conceptualization of entropy. It is NOT an accident that "we" are living inside Wonderland Matrix Bizarro Worlds, where everything is publicly presented in the most absurdly backward ways possible. Everything regarding economics, which is actually based on ENFORCING FRAUDS, is publicly  presented AS IF THAT IS NOT FRAUDULENT. The biggest bullies' bullshit, which became the banksters' bullshit, almost totally dominates society, including the dominate schools of economics.

"Markets" should be understood as ecological equilibria. However, doing so demands recognizing that the only things which actually exist are the dynamic equilibria between different systems of organized lies operating robberies. Within that context, the ways that public governments enforce frauds by private banks, and the big corporations that grew up around those big banks, are symbolic robberies.

Authors associated with the Mises Institute tend to indulge in magical thinking about "markets," which do not include thinking through the most important "markets" in murder ... Hence, articles like the one above continue to present only superficially correct analyses, which somewhat recognize that paradigm shifts are theoretically imperative, but do not come remotely close to actually going through enough paradigm shifting.

besnook's picture

economics has been erroneously deciphered with math instead of psychology. the psychology model of economics must be based upon the irrationality of man not the rational man. it is all about fear and greed by a crazy person in micro studies partially owing to incomplete knowledge and the rest by psychosis or persons in macro studies because the crowd is madly insane. my analogy is a crowd of people so tightly packed together that a little shove on one side of the crowd magnifies into the outer edge of the crowd falling down. charting chaos takes a special kind of genius, a mad genius.

Sokhmate's picture

I avoid buying stocks in the following astrological events

  • Uranus is transiting Feces
  • Uranus is Square Penus
  • Feces is the Rising Sign


Batman11's picture

There is too much money to be made by people not understanding money and economics.

A corrupted version serves these needs well.

The dog of 1920s neoclassical economics is back with its private debt blind spot.

1929 and 2008 stick out like sore thumbs; bank credit going into financial speculation and stocks (1929) or real estate (2008). 

It's great for bankers with their debt products.

Just to ensure no one works it out.

Monetary theory has been regressing for the last one hundred years.

Credit creation theory -> fractional reserve theory -> financial intermediation theory

 “A lost century in economics: Three theories of banking and the conclusive evidence” Richard A. Werner

“…banks make their profits by taking in deposits and lending the funds out at a higher rate of interest” Paul Krugman, 2015.

A Nobel prize winning economist with “financial intermediation theory”.

He's never going to work it out with that, he puts it down to a "Black Swan" as he hasn't got the knowledge to work it out.


Batman11's picture

Neoclassical economics came into being to hide the early discoveries of the Classical Economists who had worked out the old landed, aristocracy were effectively parasites on the economic system.

The distinction between “earned” income (wealth creation) and “unearned” income (wealth extraction) disappears and the once separate areas of “capital” and “land” are conflated.

The problems with rentier activity in the economy are hidden in economics.

“Income inequality is not killing capitalism in the United States, but rent-seekers like the banking and the health-care sectors just might” Nobel-winning economist Angus Deaton

The brighter economists in the 21st century are starting to realise what was hidden.

Batman11's picture

The  US can't compete globally.

The cost of living = housing costs + healthcare costs + student loan costs + food + other costs of living

Disposable income = wages – (taxes + the cost of living)

The minimum wage must cover the cost of living.

Do the same sums for China and see what a competitive economy looks like. 


The idea:

Putting all costs directly onto the individual.

What was missed:

These costs have to be covered by business in wages.

Known by the Classical Economists but hidden by neoclassical economics.

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

What a news flash "this isn't"

We've seen too many "herd misdirection moments" with the FOMO and the Feds random "ALL IS WELL" with QE/ZIRP/NIRP program that has made the "dough" rise beyond anything we've never seen after 2008 when we went from roughly $8 trillion in both principle and interest to $156 trillion in less than a decade!

Only an economist that consults a Tarot card or a Ouja board could come up with policy this "eccentric"!!!

DaveA's picture

Summary: Astrology cannot work because the connections necessary to make it work do not exist, and the same is true of macro-economics.

Faeriedust's picture

Summary: Astrology cannot work because we don't understand the connections necessary to make it work, and we REFUSE to understand or study them, because then we would have to accept things that would interfere with our PROFITS. 

Science is the red-headed bastard of Thaumaturgy, and too arrogant to admit the relationship.  As the fosterling of the Enlightenment, it hews to the Great Protestant "Ethic" (mercantile socioeconomic class interest) and must always support The Bankers who first nourished it.

Understanding psychology, sociology, and anthropology is the first step towards understanding the philosophy of Knowledge and the competition between knowledge claims.  All Authority proceeds from the self-interest of ruling elites, and Science is the ultimate Authority of modern culture.


DaveA's picture

Real science is what can be objectively observed, measured, predicted, and tested. Do not confuse it with the consensus-based hokum now emanating from our universities and government-funded laboratories. 98% of "scientists" think global warming is real. When did science become a peer-reviewed popularity contest?

Education, health care, science, finance -- a few decades of government subsidy gradually turns any human endeavor into a counterfeit imitation of itself.

AurorusBorealus's picture

It has been the path of "science" in recent times to substitute data from models for empirical observation of real-world phenomena.  The rise of computer-modeling has only made this tendency worse.  All sciences, not just economics, are guilty of this.  Climate science, for example, is a perfect illustration of substituting models for data (and then forcing data to conform to the model).  Physics, as well, has gone off the deep end, looking for all sorts of bizarre things, such as 12 dimensions, hypothetical forms of matter, and so forth.  What is useable in science is empirical, based upon data, observation, and experiment.  The rest is mumbo jumbo.  Unfortunately, all science today is mostly mumbo jumbo.

What makes economics especially useless, however, is that the entire field claims the power to predict human behavior but has only the most rudimentary understanding of humanity: people are guided by self-interest and conditioned response.  If that is the case, why is anyone helping other people in Texas?  Obviously, there is much more guiding human behavior than self-interest and conditioned responses.  Any substantive analysis of human behavior must include millions of factors: language, habit, custom, culture, biology, sexual proclivities, pleasure-seeking, diet, psychology, family structures, morality, patterns of movement and social interactions, the power of imitation, and so forth.

Ms No's picture

"Physics, as well, has gone off the deep end, looking for all sorts of bizarre things, such as 12 dimensions, hypothetical forms of matter, and so forth."

Everything seems crazy until its proven.  It isn't all hypothetical.  We can see effects.  I would keep an open mind about that because that is probably where the real progress is happening.  I have actually seen more reasons to believe in that than high level statistics.

Arguably the most brilliant man in human history would agree:

“The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.”   
-     Nikola Tesla