Paul Lachine

A People’s Economics

The financial crisis has deflated professional economists' scientific pretensions, because they failed to predict it. Part of the process of pursuing the inexact aspects of economics must be speaking honestly to the broader public, learning from them, and then searching one’s soul to decide whether one's favored theory is really close to the truth.

NEW HAVEN – We are in the midst of a boom in popular economics: books, articles, blogs, public lectures, all followed closely by the general public.

I recently participated in a panel discussion of this phenomenon at the American Economic Association annual meeting in Denver. An apparent paradox emerged from the discussion: the boom in popular economics comes at a time when the general public seems to have lost faith in professional economists, because almost all of us failed to predict, or even warn of, the current economic crisis, the biggest since the Great Depression.

So, why is the public buying more books by professional economists?

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