Your economics is so old (part 2)
I’ve previously spoken about how many great insights supposedly ‘discovered’ by economists – classical and modern – had really been known for a long time, but had been ignored or perverted before they were put in terms neoclassical economists approved of. The more I learn, the more it seems that this is the case with a vast amount of critical ‘insights’ on which macroeconomists pride themselves.
Ignoring the history of thought just means you are condemned to rediscover the same insights over and over – often, it seems, in a far less enlightened way than they were originally stated.
This is not how other sciences work where previous insights are strengthened and improved upon with general consensus being build upon an expanding pool of empirical data for the further expansion of knowledge. No, instead, just like in the 20th century, economics is being used as a cudgel for political zealots to further their own personal worldview of what they want reality to be.
It’s not that a supposed insight like Laffer’s is wrong simply because it is old. That would be the logical fallacy of argument form novelty. It’s that he and kind are picking and choosing economic “insights” ignoring the fact that they have since been refuted by people smarter than them. This is not simply academic laziness. It is overt political evangelism and disinformation and it holds us back from national prosperity.