Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tribalism And Inflationitis

Many economists, politicians and Wall Street types have been predicting inflation for the last five years.  We haven't seen inflation in most of the world but that doesn't change their predictions about inflation.  Of course, we will have inflation some day and they will be correct some day.  Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. 

Noah Smith argues that those who have been predicting an event that has not occurred are supported by membership in a tribe.  Tribal members tend to believe the same thing and they keep repeating what they believe to themselves and to others.  That is what keeps a tribe intact.  He describes some to the tribes that he has observed and contrasts tribalism with a denial of reality.  In science, reality has a way of eventually intruding on strongly held viewpoints.  Reality has little impact on tribal members.  Unfortunately, a lot of prominent economists are members of of one kind of tribe or another.  Smith has an interesting way of categorizing the tribes to which they belong.

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