0

I can't really figure out what this quote is saying.

"But this long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is long past the ocean is flat again."

Is he trying to talk bad about economists?

  • 2
    He's snarking (he was very good at that). He says that economists who dismiss violent fluctuations in markets by saying that these things "even out" in the long run are evading the question. – StoneyB Mar 8 '17 at 1:44
  • 1
    too useless a task, as if there were an acceptable degree of uselessness ... – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 8 '17 at 1:56
1

He's saying that economists who dismiss the effects of recessions and depressions by stating that eventually the economy will be buoyant again are being lazy and useless. By the time the economy has recovered (the storm has passed) and the waters are flat again the ship may have capsized and lives may have been lost.

It's of little or no use to people whose lives and businesses are ruined by economic downturns to simply state that eventually the economy will recover.

It's equally useless for governments to be advised the same because by the time the economy has recovered, if they accept such laissez-faire advice, more damage will have occurred than if they had taken steps to reduce the effects of the downturn and they may, of course, find themselves voted out of office.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.