Why Economists Are Morons
Why Economists Are Morons by Bill Bonner – Bonner and Partners
This morning, bitcoin took a dive.
From an all-time high of $17,899… it tumbled to $14,336 – a 20% fall.
What a wild ride!
Our theme this week includes a warning… a not-so-subtle memento mori for the financial world: Put on your seat belt!
But today, we dig deeper to answer a question almost no one asks: Why are most modern economists such nincompoops? The quick answer: because it pays.
We blame Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de Saint-Simon… along with many others.
In 1760, Saint-Simon was born into an aristocratic family in France. He had a talent for broad, moronic ideas.
But he was remarkably untalented at suicide. Disappointed by the lack of success of his writing, he shot himself in the head six times… and lived!
Yet, with French philosopher Auguste Comte, Saint-Simon developed an idea that, like a malevolent weed, flourished: positivism.
That was the late 18th century. By then, it was obvious that “positive knowledge” about the natural world could help us live better. The Industrial Age was just beginning. Progress was undeniable.
So why not apply the “positive knowledge” idea to personal relationships, business, government, and culture? Wouldn’t that make things better, too?
But the relationships between people are not as simple as the relationship between a nail and a hammer. You can beat on people, too. But it’s hard to drive them straight where you want them to go.
And in the 250 years that have elapsed since – in which the propositions put forward by positivists were exhaustively rehearsed by governments, activists, and world improvers – no persuasive evidence of any real improvement has emerged.
Society evolves as people develop new ideas, products, inventions, and ways of working – mostly voluntarily – with one another. One buys his bread from the corner shop because he likes the salesgirl’s pretty red hair. Another orders his cement from across town because they give him more time to pay. A third fancies a new watch powered by his own body heat.
Then, along come the feds. Imposing their own rules and policies, preventing the free give and take of a free economy, setting prices, requiring licenses, blocking competition… all in the name of making the world a better place, of course.