The Public Interest

All about growth

Irwin M. Stelzer

Fall 1997

COMPUTERS are the opiate of the economist masses. Because it is now so cheap to “crunch” huge volumes of data, economists can devise elaborate equations and plug in millions of numbers with ease. They can also produce publishable material, which is so much more important than old-fashioned, good teaching in determining who receives the coveted tenure that forever relieves academic economists from reliance on market forces for their livelihoods. No need to determine whether the data accurately represent what they purport to represent; no need to ask a question of any interest to practical men of affairs or to policy makers. And certainly no need to make the results intelligible to all save a few colleagues.

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