Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on June 11, 2012

in Economics, Hubris and humility, Politics, Reality Is Not Optional, Scientism

… is from page 161 of Robert Higgs’s 2012 book Delusions of Power (original emphasis; link added); here, Bob is writing about policy-making in the U.S. during the reign of LBJ:

Had economic theorists rested content with using the microeconomics of the Neoclassical Synthesis strictly as a conceptual device employed in abstract reasoning, it might have done little damage.  However, as I have already suggested, this type of theory cried out for application, which in practice was nearly always misapplication.  The idealized conditions required for theoretical general-equilibrium efficiency could not possibly obtain in the real world, yet the economists readily endorsed government measures aimed at coercively pounding the real world into conformity with these impossible theoretical conditions.  Closely examined, such efforts represented a form of madness.

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