David Brat: Economics is Dead

According to Jordan Weissman of Slate, David Brat thinks “mainstream economics is a bit of a lie.”

Brat’s “long, apparently unpublished reader on the history and philosophy of economic thought … argues, essentially, that the field suffers from a mass delusion of scientific impartiality.”

Brat: ” … the dominant methodology in economics is in serious question, if not dead … while many economists are very nervous about the methodological problems in their field, the theologian and philosopher are very used to seeing their fields collapse every few hundred years. Perhaps this knowledge and wisdom can be brought to bear on the economic transformation which is under way.”

“The Tea Party’s new favorite face isn’t arguing that economics should be less concerned with ethics. He just seems to think we should be more open to alternative points of moral departure. He appears to be big on the work of Deirdre McCloskey, who believes that economics should be framed as a form of ‘rhetoric’—which is to say, just part of the ancient art of persuasion.”

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  • Lorehead

    Noah Smith has been making similar points, although he drew the opposite conclusion: that economics should become more empirical and test its hypotheses. Let’s try to keep in mind, when Brat talks economics, that he’s really just talking about his personal preferences for a just society and does not actually believe that there is any evidence his prescriptions would work in the real world.


    The Republican Party has FAILED the three million unemployed workers, STILL without an unemployment extension, since late last December. Since that time, the Republican senate has intentionally, calculatingly, postponed and delayed voting on the bill so it would become too late to pass in the senate. Effectively killing the bill in the senate. For the past six months, these families have suffered tremendous financial loss, and many have become homeless. These once proud workers, have watched everything they had worked for, disappear into financial ruin. The Republican senate chose to victimize these workers all the more, by labeling them “Lazy”, and “Unwilling to seek work”. Although it’s been clear that their unemployment was due to both a poor economy and corporate downsizing. It’s always easier to blame the victim, as oppose to the banking bailout fiasco, and corporate greed. It’s appalling that with Billions of dollars going to the Ukraine, no help would be given to these UNEMPLOYED FAMILIES IN NEED.

    • UnknownRider

      Where is it written that your perceived need constitutes a legitimate claim on anyone else? Apparently, you think government’s purpose is to legitimize and be an agent for institutional theft.
      If you read Federalist 41, you will find Madison’s clear statement that there is NO authority for the national government to provide welfare. Had that tenet not been violated by “progressives” 100 years ago, our nation would not be on the financial precipice, and our current president’s efforts to push it over that cliff would be impossible.

  • R. Roston

    I suspect Mr. Brat’s adherence to classical economics and religion is based on the field of Economics’ shifting towards scientific methodologies and statistical analyses. If Republicans can’t understand scientific methods they cling even more desperately to
    classical thought and “the old time religion”.

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