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In Praise of Economics Verities

In my latest column for AIER I argue that what society needs isn’t a new’n’improved economics; what it needs instead is greater attention to the realities revealed by the economic way of thinking. Here’s my conclusion:

We economists then perform some of our most valuable service in explaining how the mostly unintended consequences of self-interested actions in this world of scarcity either do or don’t combine to form an economic order – or a market process – that allows each of us to consume far more than each of us could possibly produce. Armed with an understanding of the logic of such an economic order, good economists are thus charged with – some might say cursed with – the adult responsibility of dashing the hopes of those who fall for any of the plethora of schemes for enriching society by having the state override market processes.

This core task of economists is not new, but it remains as important as ever. Far from needing to be replaced or even revised, what is needed most is that this core task be embraced more firmly by economists and accorded more respect by non-economists.