September 15, 2010
Economic illiteracy is widespread, but why should this be a problem? Ignorance is even more pervasive in microelectronics and computer programming, and yet computer technology is nothing short of astounding.
In most fields of study, people leave science to experts and trust the correctness of their conclusions. Not so for economics: rather than leaving the matter to economists, people hold strong positions that are plainly false. Economic ignorance by itself is not the problem. As Murray Rothbard put it,
It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a "dismal science." But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.
If people trusted economic theory to professional economists, their economic ignorance would be as harmless as their ignorance of most other subjects.