There has been pushback from economists who support fringe positions on this article I wrote while guest-blogging for Megan on things that economists agree on. A lot of the pushback seems to focus on the title of the piece which says “all economists” reject these ideas. That’s a fine complaint, but in the piece itself I go out of my way to not refer to all economists. Obviously within any field you will find some people supporting just about any position. I mean you see the doctors on TV selling obviously sham diet medicine, right? I may reply in depth to the criticisms more at some later point, but I don’t have time, so for now I just want to note one interesting thing. Here is Dean Baker who says he’s comfortable with three of the four things I say economists mostly agree on, but that I’m too easy on NAFTA and free trade. In contrast, here is Amity Shlaes who says I am spot on when it comes to free trade, but too hard on the gold standard. The general pattern is: yes, you are right to dismiss the other fringes, but not my fringe.
Which is fine, I don’t begrudge them wanting their fringe to be treated with more credence. But my point was specifically to point to a survey of economists that identified these positions as being rejected by a strong consensus of the profession. I’m not going to accurately marginalize these positions with one hand and then with the other hand tell readers to give them more consideration than the vast majority of economists do. These may be issues worth considering for economists or others with a detailed interest in the issues, but for laypeople who just want to know the truth these aren’t positions they should take very seriously.