This sort of thing from Gillian Tett - though you can find it elsewhere - annoys me:
The economics department seemed akin to the modern equivalent of a seminary; not only did it write the creed-shaping western thinking, but it produced the priesthood too... Is the discipline of economics succumbing to a twinge of self-doubt now? Or at least some heresy?
This attributes far more homogeneity to the economics profession than ever existed. The fact is that challengers to efficient market theory (to take Ms Tett’s example) have for years occupied key positions in the “seminary“: Andrew Lo, Robert Shiller and Richard Thaler are professors at MIT, Yale and Chicago respectively. And economists who have challenged conventional explanations for inequality, pointed to the importance of tail risk, challenged the very notion of predictability and attributed the “Great Moderation” to luck are all a wholly legitimate and important part of economic thinking.
I fear that Ms Tett is equating economics as a whole with the sort of economics that's done in investment banks. But that stuff was only ever what we did to make money. It wasn't supposed to be taken seriously - it's just what the punters wanted.
To equate economics with neo-liberal economics is just stupid.
Not just stupid, but annoyingly so, for two reasons.
First, I fear there’s an element of anti-intellectualism here. Isn’t it convenient that all that maths which is so hard to understand just happens to be unnecessary too?
Second, there’s a danger of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. To dismiss economics entirely is to ignore some (pdf) significant (pdf) and powerful challenges to inequality.
Economics can be the friend of radicals, not the enemy.