(Willem Buiter, 2009 Link)~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
As mentioned on the main page, currently this site is focused on putting criticisms of the social sciences on one website.
Overall mainstream economics fails because of its assumptions and related approaches. The most serious assumption for the current economic crisis relates to the treatment (or lack thereof) of debt in the modern economy.
Mainstream assumptions make economics not just useless, but worse than useless - it is, in the words of Steve Keen "Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know." I have long been interested in the work on debt by Irving Fisher, and hadn't realized before reading Keen that Minsky had developed it to such an extent. Keen continues to develop the role of debt in the economy and the current crisis. Pretty much everything you need to know about the current crisis is on his blog. This is the Manifesto.
The continued failure of mainstream economics to make any sense out of the current economic situation has caused, unsurprisingly, a great deal of attention to the failures of mainstream economics. I have begun to compile a list of sources (below).
In addition to economics and the current crisis, economic theories of development and the policies/practices they have led to are failures in many ways. The latter is not purely an academic failing - the problems with international aid is an enormous topic in itself. The larger-scale government programs are in part at least failures of academic policy. The failure of NGOs is another issue - (see Aid Debate for examples). One scary trend, however, is the belief that more of the same - social science credentials - will somehow help, as expressed here. As if academics somehow have it all figured out, and more credentialism and M.A.s in "development" will allow "professionals" to successfully help in development. More on this at a later date.
The Financial Crisis and the Systemic Failure of Academic Economics (Colander et al 2008, commonly referred to as the "Dahlem report") Link
How Economists Contributed to the Financial Crisis. John T. Harvey. Forbes, Feb. 6, 2012. Link
"Economics has failed us: but where are the fresh voices? Mainstream economic models have been discredited. But why aren't political scientists and sociologists offering an alternative view?" The Guardian. Aditya Chakrabortty. Monday 16 April 2012. Link
What Caused the Financial Crisis? Don’t Ask An Economist. Mark Thoma. The Fiscal Times, Aug. 30, 2011. Link
George Bragues, (2011) "The financial crisis and the failure of modern social science", Qualitative Research in Financial Markets, Vol. 3 Iss: 3, pp.177 – 192. Link
Why Did Economists Not Foresee the Crisis? Raghuram Rajan. Project syndicate. Feb. 7 2011. Link
Paul Krugman. A Dark Age of macroeconomics. Link
Paul Krugman. The Profession and the Crisis. Eastern Economic Journal (2011) 37, 307–312. Link
Guardian article by George Monbiot on debt deflation (Oct. 10, 2011; also available on his website here. Monbiot focuses on the work of Steve Keen.
Why quantitative easing and bank bailouts have not, and cannot, succeed - Steve Keen’s clear explanations, one theoretical and another looking at Bernanke’s views on the Great Depression.
John Cassidy. A Nobel for Freshwater Economics. Oct. 12, 2011. Link
John Kay. “Economics: Rituals of rigour.” Financial Times. 2011. Link
Edward Fullbrook. Toxic Textbooks: Part I – Mankiw’s Neo-Platonism is anti-science. Link
Toxic Textbooks: Part II – Mankiw’s use of emotionality and bullying. Link
Toxic Textbooks: Part III – Newton, Mankiw and Einstein. Link
Part IV: Eleven ways to think like a post-crash economist. Link
An Open Letter to Greg Mankiw. Harvard Political Review Nov. 2, 2011. Link
Willem Buiter. The unfortunate uselessness of most ‘state of the art’ academic monetary economics. March 3, 2009 Link
Joseph Stiglitz. “Needed: a new economic paradigm.” Financial Times. August 19 2010. Link
Yanis Varoufakis, Christian Arnsperger. 2009. "A Most Peculiar Failure: On the dynamic mechanism by which the inescapable theoretical failures of neoclassical economics reinforce its dominance." Link
Letter to the Queen: Why No One Predicted the Crisis. Thomas Palley. 2009. Link
What went wrong with economics. The Economist. July 16th, 2009. Link
“Practitioners of the ‘dismal science’ should stop sneering at their academic cousins in the social sciences—and start learning from them.” Foreign Policy. By Moisés Naím. March/April 2006 Link
“Economists today are still grappling with basic questions for which they have no answers. Much more than fodder for academic squabbles, this uncertainty often has serious consequences. When economists err in theory, people suffer in practice.”
The progress of economic science has been seriously damaged. You can’t believe anything that comes out of [it]. Not a word. It is all nonsense, which future generations of economists are going to have to do all over again. Most of what appears in the best journals of economics is unscientific rubbish. I find this unspeakably sad. All my friends, my dear, dear friends in economics, have been wasting their time....They are vigorous, difficult, demanding activities, like hard chess problems. But they are worthless as science.
The physicist Richard Feynman called such activities Cargo Cult Science....By “cargo cult” he meant that they looked like science, had all that hard math and statistics, plenty of long words; but actual science, actual inquiry into the world, was not going on... I am afraid that my science of economics has come to the same point.
Deirdre McCloskey, The Secret Sins of Economics (2002) 55-56
DEVELOPMENT / INTERNATIONAL AID
“Ending Famine, Simply by Ignoring the Experts.” New York Times. Celia W. Dugger. December 2, 2007. Link
Making many of these critiques especially forceful is the fact that they come from ‘insiders’ such as Joseph Stiglitz’s (2000) ‘What I Learned at the World Economic Crisis’ and William Easterly’s (2001) The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists’ Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics, or those with otherwise ‘progressive’ views not inherently skeptical of government aid (a predisposition which sometimes undermined the force of the arguments of past critics of international aid) such as Maggie Black’s (2002) excellent The No-Nonsense Guide to International Development.
The Crisis Caravan: What's Wrong with Humanitarian Aid? Linda Polman, 2010.
The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good. William Easterly. Penguin 2006. Amazon