It is easy to mock economic theory. Any fool can see that the world of neoclassical economics, which dominates the academic field today, is a gross caricature in which every trader or company acts in the same self-interested way – rational, cool, omniscient. The theory has not foreseen a single stock market crash and has evidently failed to make the world any fairer or more pleasant.
Philip Ball,consultant editor of Nature, author of Critical Mass (Heinemann) FT 30/10 2006 Full text
Few mothers are thrilled to learn their daughter is dating an economist. They expect that their prospective son-in-law (economics being the only social science in which male students greatly outnumber females) will be opinionated, boring and wrong. I dread admitting I am an economist. The cab driver quizzes you on what is going to happen to the economy, the dinner companion turns to talk to the person on the other side and the immigration officer says, with heavy sarcasm, that his country needs people like you.
Economics would indeed be a dismal science if its main purpose was to forecast, inaccurately, the future course of interest rates and currencies. But few economists do this, and those who do are not well regarded, even if well paid.
John Kay,Financial Times 2/5 2006