Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Joshua Gans is not an economist

Several economic commentators have linked to CoreEcon - the blog of Joshua Gans, an 'economist' (and I use the term loosely) from Melbourne Business School who specialises in strategy, competition and information economics.

In a nutshell, this means - he uses all kinds of sophisticated methods to come to stupid conclusions.

But it is indeed a lucrative gig, if you can get it. You get invited to Kevin Rudd's 2020 talkfest, you get to be a policy adviser and have articles published by mainstream newspapers.

You get to suggest all kinds of new regulations and roles for government meddling all in some "social interest".

Remember this - economics is the science of choice. Of making decisions, prioritising and allocating the finite resources that are available. It is perfectly clear that individuals making decisions in their own interest and in pursuit of maximising their happiness are much more succesful at this than a centralised bureaucracy, no matter how benign or intelligent the policy inventors may be.

Yet somehow, a person can deliver a slick 10 minute presentation on why government must spend billions of public dollars on broadband and still call himself an economist ? Watch this youtube and laugh as he complains about the devastating status quo.

Socialists often despair at homelessness, poverty, illness and poor education.. yet this one seems to despair about Australia having download limits and slow upload speeds. (GASP !!)

This is a perfect example of why some economists... are not. And why economics has a reputation as the dismal science. Only an 'economist' can suggest we'd be better off with baby bonuses and with broadband subsidies and all kinds of fancy new government spending.