Look at the World. Not Your Models.
By Amy Willis
Are economists outdated? Has our economy changed more than professional economists can keep up with? If all the practitioners of economics were to develop amnesia, which concepts would still remain when they woke up? In this week’s episode, host Russ Roberts welcomes back Econlib’s own Arnold Kling, who has a unique critique of the state of economics today.
What do you think the most enduring economics concepts are? How ought economists approach their subject anew? As always, we want to know how you would like to continue the conversation.
1. Kling makes the case for price discrimination as one of the most timeless concepts in economics. What’s his argument for its importance, and to what extent do you agree? What concept(s) would you suggest as enduring across the ages, and why?
2. Why does Kling believe economists couldn’t see the 2008 financial crisis coming? How convincing do you find his case? To what extent should financial intermediation be a central part of economic education?
3. How might the sorts of intangibles Kling is worried about be accounted for in measures of economic performance?
4. Why is Roberts so concerned about what he calls tribalism? How does it affect the economy, positively and/or negatively?