Punish Economists For Bad Advice?
I came across an article on the Real-World Economics Blog that is highly relevant to our discussion. I want to draw your attention to it in order to stimulate more conversation. The article referenced hits home on exactly the point being discussed here. Namely: is the relationship between an economist and society ethically charged, such that advice that “fails” can be considered unethical and thus demanding of some measure of sanction?
The recent crisis has punctured the veil behind which economists have typically hidden themselves. They have been content to theorize and subsequently advise, but have sought to avoid responsibility for the consequences of that advice. Instead they claim academic freedom and continue to teach and theorize undaunted by the empirical record being piled up around them.
Does this matter?
Should economists care?
Should economics be regulated?
Or, perhaps more provocatively, how is it that tenured professors can promulgate a theory dependent upon labor mobility, flexible wages, and other elements of free markets without the stain of hypocrisy?