Part 1 of this post defined liberal and conservative economists, where liberals advocate for changes that clearly support common citizens, and conservatives don’t. Now the most liberal economists are listed, and the topic of "moderates" is addressed.
The most famous of today's conservative economists is probably Robert Lucas. He was awarded an economics Nobel in 1995, and works at the University of Chicago. Yes, Milton Friedman’s old school.
Other prominent members of the ultra-conservative Chicago economists club are: Eugene Fama, John Cochrane and Raghuran Rajan. This group of four should be awarded a gold medal for doing the greatest good for the least number of people; it does the best job of serving the wealthy few.
One school trying to compete with Chicago’s infamy is Florida State. The Koch brothers have taken over the economics department there, and dictate which professors meet their ultra-conservative standards. Who knows; maybe they can buy Chicago’s top spot?
No list of top conservatives would be complete without Robert Barro. He is the self-appointed Paul Krugman attack-dog. He has gone so far as to claim that Krugman has no business talking about economics. Barro’s viciousness emphasizes the importance of Krugman to common citizens.
Moderate economists are trickier to spot. One day they say things that support common citizens, and the next day they say the opposite. The leading economic moderate is none other than Ben Bernanke, head of the Federal Reserve. (If you want to learn more about the Fed, click here
When the Obama transition team was at work in late 2008, Bernanke supported economic stimulus to help common citizens. But rather than support bold, decisive steps in proportion to the tremendous magnitude of the problem, he took a moderate stance. He compromised with conservative economists and bankers. The results speak volumes: we are still in a depression. Moderate economics is just conservative economics in slower motion. It eventually does more harm than good.
Why? Take our current crisis. After Obama’s and Bernanke's moderate steps failed, a conservative backlash was launched, which is creating even more economic suffering.
Even though the only outright beneficiaries of conservative economics are the wealthy few, huge numbers of “wealthy few wannabes” have joined the conservative ranks. They correctly conclude that moderate economics failed, but they wrongly hope that conservative economics will help them.
To summarize, there are two types of economists: liberals and conservatives. The liberals are led by Paul Krugman. The conservatives are led by Robert Lucas and his gang at the University of Chicago. And moderates are nothing more than conservatives disguised in wolf's clothing.
Every citizen needs to know there is no such thing as an unbiased economist. Each one has a political bias, and it colors every aspect of their work.
There are only two types of economists: conservative and liberal. Some insist there is a third category of "moderates." I'll address them in Part 2 of this post.
Conservative economists support the wealthy few. Occasionally one of them will show their bias and say something like "greed is good." But for the most part they rarely admit it publicly.
| |The best way to detect a conservative economist is to ask yourself a simple question: "Are they advocating for something that directly benefits me?"
If the answer is no or unclear, then there's a good chance you've spotted a conservative economist. A fallback question would be: "Do you support Keynesian economics, or massive government spending to end recessions and depressions?" If they do, they're liberal. If not, they're conservative.In fact, it's always safest to assume that an economist is conservative, because most of them are. It's how they are trained ... and how they are paid.Conservative economists condemn government
programs that help common citizens. They attack them with terms like "fiscally irresponsible" or "inflationary." Or they describe progressive taxation, where wealthy people get a higher tax rate than poor people, as "class warfare." They frequently use lofty phrases like "free markets" or "the wisdom of the markets" with religious undertones, as if their economic views are divinely inspired or rooted in universal truths. They falsely assert that the US has the "highest living standard" or the "strongest economy in the world."Conservative economists
insist that everyone benefits when the wealthy few are paid incredible amounts of money. They claim the economy thrives when income and wealth grows faster at the top of the pyramid than for the rest of us. They insist that the wealthy few "earned it" and are "worth every penny" when in fact the vast majority of executive fat cats get their money from their board buddies, who expect the same thing in return from their board buddies, in a self-reinforcing chain of executive compensation favors.
Don't be fooled by Nobel awards. The arch-villain of all modern-day economists was Milton Friedman. He got one back in 1976. This award helped launch a huge wave of conservative deregulation which ultimately created our current depression (See It's a Depression, Stupid!
And don't be so foolish as to think Democratic presidents only appoint liberal economists! Most of the top appointments made by Clinton and Obama to the Treasury and the Fed were very conservative economists. Republicans were delighted.
The only safe assumption about an economist is that they are conservative. The burden of proof is on them. Either they advocate for programs that directly benefit common citizens, or they don't.The most famous of liberal economists today is Paul Krugman. Everything he writes is driven by an earnest attempt to advocate
for common citizens. He is unafraid to say he supports many aspects of Keynesian economics, which would be an act of professional suicide for almost anyone else. You see, he has a Nobel award, too. So it's hard to summarily dismiss him.In Part 2 of this post, I list some of the most famous conservative economists, and discuss the tricky category of "moderate."
Finally, an economist willing to say it! Paul Krugman, winner of the Nobel price in Economics in 2008, just published a book End This Depression Now! He dares to stand against the minions of other economists who say our economy had a brief recession, which quckly ended.
Most economists define recession as two consecutive quarters of decline in GDP, or gross domestic product, which basically measures the size of the economy.
The official organization tasked with certifying whether or not we are in a recession is the National Bureau of Economic Research, a nonprofit corporation that claims to be nonpartisan. But from a common citizen's perspective, it is better described as an organization run by a bunch of stuffy economists who depend on the wealthy 1% for their livelihoods.
GDP has practically no relevance to common citizens. Decade after decade, GDP consistently rises, with few interruptions. Very few citizens, on the other hand, can describe their income or wealth in the same way. A plot of GDP over the last two or three decades does nothing to describe what our economy is like for common citizens.
Indeed, the original inventor of GDP, Simon Kuznets, sternly and repeatedly warned against using GDP as a measure of how well the economy was serving common citizens. His warnings have been consistently ignored by fellow economists.
The alternative measure of economic health is unemployment. But this measure, provided by our Bureau of Labor Statistics and its economists, is fundamentally flawed as well. It ignores people who are not looking for work because they are disillusioned with the prospects of finding interesting, fulfilling, and meaningful work that pays well. It also ignores people who are underpaid, unsatisfied, underutilized, or unfulfilled with their current work. (See Deep Economics, Part 3
, Chapter 16)
Numerous surveys of US citizens make it totally clear: our economy is doing an incredibly poor job of meeting our needs. But the BLS and their economists disregard the true nature of the common citizen's plight in today's economy. Instead, they stick their heads in the sand and deny the full measure of the problem.
Economists have a moral obligation to listen to the people. We are very unhappy with the economy. There aren't enough jobs, there are even fewer good
jobs, and the impact on our nation is extreme and will linger for generations.
So, economists: Stop being so stupid. Listen to us!