Kill All the Economics Departments

When the pandemic ends, future generations will say of us now living: Why did the United States chain itself to a slave state, so as to strengthen the bonds of the supply chain? Why did our political parties finalize trade agreements with the Chinese Communist Party? Why did so many do so little for so long, while the sick died and the living could not bury the dead?

These questions should cause us to question our beliefs about economics and our opinion of most economists, because no rational actor would risk his life by outsourcing the manufacture of life-saving drugs to a country with no respect for the dignity of human life. No person, except a lifeless corporation with the legal status of personhood, would call inefficiency evil but ignore calls to condemn the evildoers who run China with murderous efficiency.

No reasonable person would argue that the road to freedom runs through Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative.

But no reasonable person would believe such things without first suspending disbelief, because for good people to accept the good intentions of Communists—that takes economics. It takes economists to ignore reality; it takes economics departments to teach history without studying geography, reducing the nature of the nation-state and life in a state of nature to a series of math problems; it takes a village of idiot savants to write like Lenin and sound like Lennon.

It takes gall to say economics is a science.

It takes a little mind to believe the assertions of a social scientist.

And yet we continue to allow economists to intimidate us. We continue to allow them to devalue the currency of language. We continue to allow them to make words mean so many different things.

Thus a recession is when 12 million people lose their jobs. A depression is when 41 million are jobless. And a recovery—full employment—is when only 8 million Americans have no work.

If economists continue to substitute extraordinary equations for extraordinary evidence, if they continue to make extraordinary claims with no evidence, we have a duty to state the obvious: that science disproves scientific determinism; that history discredits historical materialism; that truth destroys the lie that China is our friend.

By holding these truths to be self-evident, we may—finally—loosen China’s hold on the lives of free men throughout the world. We have nothing to lose but our shame.

About Bill Asher

Bill Asher is a writer and retired executive. He lives with his family in Massachusetts.

Photo: Dowell/Getty Images

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