Every few years, popular opinion flings us into the embrace of another economic theory. In 1971 we were all apparently Keynesians, and again in 2008 we were re-born as Stiglitzians. In more prosperous times we love Friedman and when totalitarianism rears its ugly head we heed Hayek, while growth nay-sayers warn about hyper-consumption and the limits of progress.
With their contradictory recommendations for our economic wellbeing, could it be that economics is the cause of all our woes?
Peter Jonson, aka Henry Thornton, is a director and economist. He is founder and editor of influential economics blog Henry Thornton.com and the author of The Great Crises of Capitalism. He has been Chairman of ANZ Funds Management, the Australian Institute for Commercialisation as well as a number of biotech startups. Formerly an economist with the RBA, Peter is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.
James Savage, the Khaki Economist, is a researcher at the Grattan Institute. He previously worked at the Australian Treasury and La Trobe University. His background is in economic modelling and he graduated from La Trobe with an honours degree in economics. James has recently co-authored papers on the changing structure of the Australian economy, our medium-run fiscal challenges and on whether economics has gone as far off track as is sometimes claimed.