I like a cheap shot at economists. Who doesn’t? Economists are so frequently arrogant, close-minded, smug and willing to throw out data that doesn’t match the theory. Why not enjoy a good takedown screed? If you need to hear social scientists vent even more about the weaknesses in economics, the comments here are even more fun.
I have formally and informally studied econ a lot and have to say, I have a good deal of sympathy for some of the points made in the links above. The fact that we have seen some earth-shaking economic events in our lives and our “top men” have not, even many years on, been able to set aside ideology and come to some agreement about what has happened, or why, does not speak well for the whole intellectual endeavor. (NB: I don’t read the papers; I read the blogs, so my opinion is formed from that sample set.)
All that said, let’s remember that microeconomics has been a mostly successful enterprise. You want to know how to structure a welfare program to provide the least distortions? You want to internalize the costs of pollution? You want to set up an auction? Economists have your back.
You want to maximize social utility according to a welfare function of you choosing? Fuggetaboutit.