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If Donald Trump Is an Economic Genius, Then Your 100-year-old Aunt Is a Medical Genius

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This comment by incoming GMU Econ doctoral student Jon Murphy [2] prompts the following thought (which is modified from a reply that I left to Jon’s comment):

The assertion that business success in a market economy means that the successful business person has some reliable and trustworthy knowledge of economics – that he or she possesses credible abstract and systematic knowledge of how the economy as a whole operates and hangs together – is no more correct than would be the assertion that longevity in life means that the successful long-lived person (say, a centenarian) has some reliable and trustworthy knowledge – that he or she possesses credible abstract and systematic knowledge – of medical science.

Medical science can go a long way toward explaining why, say, Ronald Coase [3] lived to be 102.  But as Coase would have been the first to tell you, his impressive longevity as a conscious corporeal being had nothing whatsoever to do with his knowledge of medical science.  And anyone who would have turned to a very old Ronald Coase for medical advice would have been a fool.  (However, had that person turned to Ronald Coase at any age for economic insight, that person would have been very wise indeed!)

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