**L'Esprit de l'Escalier: May 25, 2013**
19 minutes ago
Partly collected thoughts.
I’d argue that what happened next—the way policymakers turned their back on practically everything economists had learned about how to deal with depressions, the way elite opinion seized on anything that could be used to justify austerity—was a much greater sin. The financial crisis of 2008 was a surprise, and happened very fast; but we’ve been stuck in a regime of slow growth and desperately high unemployment for years now. And during all that time policymakers have been ignoring the lessons of theory and history.Please to read in full.
It’s a terrible story, mainly because of the immense suffering that has resulted from these policy errors. It’s also deeply worrying for those who like to believe that knowledge can make a positive difference in the world. To the extent that policymakers and elite opinion in general have made use of economic analysis at all, they have, as the saying goes, done so the way a drunkard uses a lamppost: for support, not illumination. Papers and economists who told the elite what it wanted to hear were celebrated, despite plenty of evidence that they were wrong; critics were ignored, no matter how often they got it right.
We should first be clear that there is nothing mysterious or forbidden about purporting to study race and intelligence. Indeed, despite an inability to define "race" or "intelligence," such studies are one of the dominant intellectual strains in Western history.