Simon Wren-Lewis is angry

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:, or follow me on Twitter.

He has a right to be angry

Shrug your shoulders and move on? If it had appeared in the partisan press that would be a sensible reaction, but this was written by a widely respected journalist in the UK’s internationally renown financial newspaper. Furthermore – lest my motives be misunderstood – written by someone whose knowledge on the Eurozone is beyond dispute and whose views I often agree with. Well on this occasion this particular member of a discredited profession who is no longer apparently considered an expert on macroeconomics is not prepared to take this kind of stuff anymore, whoever it may come from.

It is difficult to know where to start with such apparent and complete ignorance. Nonsense expressed as platitudes. You can only make sense of “beyond the ability of any human to forecast” if you either think we know nothing about the impact of trade restrictions, which is false, or that forecasts are non-probabilistic. No journalist has any excuse nowadays for misunderstanding the probabilistic nature of forecasts (Bank of England fan charts), and any academic economist who knows anything about forecasting will tell you that unconditional macro forecasts are only slightly better than intelligent guesswork. They exist because it is worth being slightly better than guesswork when the stakes are so high.

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