Oh, I do love to read some Economics pwnage now and then. Some of these quotes are just delicious.
In many ways economics plays the role within capitalism that religion played in the Middle Ages, namely to provide justification for the dominant social system and hierarchies. “The priest keeps you docile and subjected,” argued Malatesta, “telling you everything is God’s will; the economist say it’s the law of nature.” They “end up saying that no one is responsible for poverty, so there’s no point rebelling against it.” [Fra Contadini, p. 21] Even worse, they usually argue that collective action by working class people is counterproductive and, like the priest, urge us to tolerate current oppression and exploitation with promises of a better future (in heaven for the priest, for the economist it is an unspecified “long run”). It would be no generalisation to state that if you want to find someone to rationalise and justify an obvious injustice or form of oppression then you should turn to an economist (preferably a “free market” one).
I’ve always said that economics is as much of a science as theology.
The weakness of economics is even acknowledged by some within the profession itself. According to Paul Ormerod, “orthodox economics is in many ways an empty box. Its understanding of the world is similar to that of the physical sciences in the Middle Ages. A few insights have been obtained which stand the test of time, but they are very few indeed, and the whole basis of conventional economics is deeply flawed.” Moreover, he notes the “overwhelming empirical evidence against the validity of its theories.” It is rare to see an economist be so honest.
This produces a market for economic ideology in which those economists who supply the demand will prosper. Thus we find many “fields of economics and economic policy where the responses of important economic professionals and the publicity given economic findings are correlated with the increased market demand for specific conclusions and a particular ideology.” [Edward S. Herman, “The Selling of Market Economics,” pp. 173-199, New Ways of Knowing, Marcus G. Raskin and Herbert J. Bernstein (eds.), p.192]
What an insight! The popular economics themselves are decided through market forces, i.e. those who better pander to the ruling class are the most succesful.
Read the rest of the thing. Hell read the whole of this Anarchist FAQ. The Anarchists as usual, hit the nail right on the head.