The coyness of Peter Coy of Business Week

From the Hayek blog is a pointer to a journalist’s (Peter Coy) take on the macro debates.  

Greg Ransom contends that Hayekian scholars were among the few who thought “IT” (a near-repeat or actual repeat of the Great Depression) was at hand. But that gap in Peter Coy’s “research” (if you can call it that) is perhaps not as objectionable as the implicit assumption that imposes an impossible standard on economics as a science.

Peter Coy states:

“But collectively, they [economists] should be able to warn of dangers ahead. And when disaster strikes, they ought to know what to do.” 

Here’s my beef.  Why are economists called upon (by journalists!) to forecast events the way a physicist might track the trajectory of a cannon ball?  It is a bit like asking a doctor to coerce his cigar-smoking patient out of heart-attack city.  Truly, Mr. Coy lives up to his last name.  Nassim Taleb was right.  It isn’t so much the well-meaning scientists who do harm, but journalists who “simplify” to the point of silliness.


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