Very good summary comments from Arnold Kling

Tyler Cowen makes up long lists of the blind spots of left-leaning economists and right-leaning economists. If I were asked this question, I would boil my answers down to one suggestion for each.

What I think left-leaning economists should do more:

Look for structural reasons for policy failure, rather than attribute it always to misguided ideology. Consider the implications of imperfect knowledge on the part of government actors. Also, consider that the existence and growth of special interests is at least partly endogenous with respect to policy.

What I wish that right-leaning economists would do more:

Look for structural explanations for the growth of the state, rather than attribute it always to misguided ideology. Consider the implications of urban density. Consider that as the economy becomes more complex, the potential dispersion in wealth due to differences in ability, information, and luck becomes very large, while the ability to overcome such differences with sheer effort probably declines.

The link is here.  And here is David Henderson and yes I hereby denounce the torture of Bradley Manning, albeit in less than one hundred words.

Comments

Perhaps it can be put more simply: "right-leaning economists" are those who have learned their microeconomics well. So-called left leaning economists have not.

How about: if there is a consensus that you are a right- or left-leaning economist, then you are probably ill-placed (compared with those economists who cannot be so broadly pigeonholed) to offer consistently pragmatic solutions to complicated and contingent economic problems.

Repeat for (politicians, policy-makers, wonks, philosophers, etc...)

What has been lost in America is not "moderate" thought and action, but "pragmatic" thought and action.

What I think left-leaning economists should do more:

Look for structural reasons for policy failure, rather than attribute it always to misguided ideology.

So, given Kling fails to look to the structural driver of profit for destructive economic activity, like the huge share of GDP for health care in the US driven by profit seeking when compared to the not-for-profit universal health care systems that are almost twice as efficient, the profit seeking that drove the creation of debt that couldn't be repaid, and the profit seeking that has driven pump and dump real estate and Wall Street bubbles, one should classify Kling as a left leaning economist?

Profit and competition seek to increase the total spending for a good or service, not reduce the total spending.

US health care is profitable and that profit drives every effort to increase health care spending as a share of the economy.

The drug companies, seeking profit, do everything possible to prevent competition because competition hurts profits. So, we have patents, and regulation, and branding, and advertising, and bribery/kickbacks/sales incentives to doctors to drive high profit sales.

The means of limiting or selectively eliminating economic profit (as opposed to return on investment) have resulted in much higher efficiency in the drug delivery system, efficiencies that the for profit drug companies fight in the US where economic profit has taken on a status of virtue, where inefficient markets are worshiped by many because they generate high economic profits.

The economists of Asia and Europe see structural economic profit as a market failure and seek to fix the structural problem and restore the market to a market rate of return with no economic profit.

Both left and right fail to address one of the main drivers behind health-care cost inflation: the need for tort reform. If you compare other countries' government-mandated health care (there is no state health care in Germany, for instance: it is simply mandated by the state) you will also see that these are countries where malpractice insurance is very low, as there are few instances where you can sue under local law for massively punitive damages.

The left really needs to understand that the profit motive isn't a bad thing and that you really can't intervene in markets just because you don't like what they are telling you forever; the right really needs to understand that markets, especially financial markets, can be gamed for fun and profit (usually accompanied by fraud) over relatively short periods of time, which, despite market corrections thereafter, result in massive losses and profits that have serious structural repercussions.

Both have a blindness regarding markets: the left think that market results are, at best, necessary evils; the right think that market results are, at best, divine signals. Ne'er the twain shall meet, and yet that is where both need to be one hell of a lot more realistic about markets.

We should take governance very seriously...although we are torturing a pfc who we put in a position to have secrets so devastating that we'd feel the need to torture a pfc for having secrets available to a pfc.

My concern with Bradley Manning is that we may not be torturing him in the most cost-effective way possible.

What's this about a splurge or a spluge? Give a fancy new name to the idea that 'more troops kill more folks' and politicians think they discovered something.

Ironically, tort reform is a state issue since there is no federal cause of action for medical malpractice (other than in a VA hospital). You can only sue in state court under state laws.

The double irony is that those who oppose the federal requirement that you purchase insurance are those who favor federal tort reform of what would be a state matter.

On the left and right leaning categories of Tyler's post, I would note that these categories could equally apply to political scientists, which makes me think that, at least to the economics that is being discussed here, it has more to do with politics and views of governance than necessarily economics.

"I would note that these categories could equally apply to political scientists, which makes me think that, at least to the economics that is being discussed here, it has more to do with politics and views of governance than necessarily economics."

Sure, after all economists are profit-maximizers and following the money.

The two posts can be summarized by one line, left & right are not ideologies, they are interest groups

"extension of federal law into prely local matters"

Huh?

"Tort lawyers love medical malpractice...but are in turn one of the major drivers of those costs."

Evidence that torts are a "major driver" of health care costs?

structural explanations for the growth of the state, rather than attribute it always to misguided ideology. Consider the implications of urban density. Consider that as the economy becomes more complex, the potential dispersion in wealth due to differences in ability, information, and

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