Thursday, July 13, 2017

She's a lightweight

I've never trusted Deirdre McCloskey on economics:  for one thing, Sinclair Davidson and Steve Kates think she's pretty good, so there's a warning sign there.

But I reckon this piece in Reason, about how economists who have started to worry a lot about automation and unemployment are wrong, pretty much confirms she's a lightweight.  There's really no serious argument put forward, and she just falls back on her general theme about how free market capitalism and technological advance has been historically great, and (by implication) nothing's ever going to change.  Oh, and unionists are bad.

Count me as unconvinced.


Jason Soon said...

She is great on economic history and institutional economics though I tend to think she overplays somewhat the recent work on bourgeois culture even though it is interesting and well written.

I'm not as sceptical re the current wave of automation as she is. I think the next few decades are going to be really tough for people of average and below average intelligence or even those of middling above average intelligence. Just as well you're retired Homer

Anonymous said...

Dear Skeptic,

I see. You judge scientific arguments by reading little columns quickly and without thinking through their arguments, and by then deploying your prejudices based on whatever is the current buzz. That sounds like a really good way to have a serious intellectual life. I am impressed. No need to read books at all! (Say, The Bourgeois Virtues [2006], Bourgeois Dignity [2010], and Bourgeois Equality [2016.) Good show.


Deirdre Nansen McCloskey