New Ventures Society
Economics acquired the reputation as the gloomy science primarily from the works of Malthus, Marx and others who pointed out that if things were left to natural trends that the condition of the population would be famines and hardship.
There are of course a few flaws associated with that statement;
One - Economics is not a science. As a Social Science the only link to the real sciences that it has is that it uses numbers. And like the other social sciences (sociology, psychology, political science, and the like) after the data has been adjusted, folded, bent, mutilated and otherwise transformed it has very little resemblance to reality or truth. The best description of the art is how to draw a straight line (predict future actions).
A mathematician requires an infinite number of points
A physicist requires three points
A chemist requires 2 points
A biologist requires 1 point and a theory
and a social scientist just requires a theory.
Two - and the predictions of economists are no longer gloomy. Now that economists are funded or even directly employed by governments and corporations it is no longer in their interest to predict bad tidings. So unemployment reports show that employment is on the rise by neglecting individuals so discouraged that they are not even actually searching anymore. Inflation reports (and adjustments to wages etc) are adjusted to lower the numbers by altering what is considered a normal expense (altering the breadbasket). The
classic case of forecasting is that of Irving Fisher, the leading economist of the times on October 17 1929 (12 days before disaster) "Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau. I do not feel there will be soon if ever a 50 or 60 point break from present levels, such as (bears) have predicted. I expect to see the stockmarket a good deal higher within a few months." Not that the prediction by John Maynard Keynes in 1927 that "We will not have any more crashes in our time." is any less of a
statement to go down in infamy.
History is written by the victors of wars, it often has little resemblance to what actually happened. As Churchill (and others) remarked; In war, truth is the first casualty. It must be guarded by a bodyguard of lies. Likewise government economic statistics are written by governments who want the subjects ignorant of how fouled up the system actually is. Adjusting the data is a time worn procedure in the Social Sciences. The researchers of 50 to 100 years ago did not understand how to count or read thermometers.
So all previous entries must be reinterpreted in light of modern theories.
People talk about how the modern economy and banking system is geared to enrich the 1% at the expense of the bottom 99%. This is actually false, it is geared to enrich the top
1/100 th of 1% at the expense of everyone else. Yes the GDP is rising and all is well with the economy, except that wages are falling, and the only increase in GDP is in corporate profits and gains by America's oligarchs, the top 200 extended families.
One thing we are ignoring as a country is that to buy foreign goods we must sell something. When we had factories we exported manufactured goods and imported raw materials. Today for the most part we import manufactured goods and export food, coal, lumber and other raw materials; just like a colony. The critical difference is that our biggest export is dollar bills (financial instruments, bonds, etc). Eventually those dollars will come back and we will discover that those dollars represent America. The freeways
will be sold and turned into toll roads, our water supply will have foreign owners, our national parks will become foreign owned entertainment facilities (or mines). Living high on the hog can end up being an expensive habit when all we have is the income for beans and rice.