Today I want to coin a new term. It is often the case that when maligning orthodox economics and economists I get the feeling that I am being too broad with my strokes (indeed this the orthodox defense “who are we anyway?”). So in the spirit of taxonomy and thereby Aristotelean exactitude let me introduce a new distinction: Righteous Economic Apologetics League, or REAL for short.
Orthodox economics (read liberal) has always had its apologetic schools, most famously Manchester and of more contemporary import Chicago. I want to make the case, however, that the real apologetics are provided by tepid reform liberals who actually provide liberal economics with a gloss of sophistication and flexibility; those social scientists aka economists who actually spend their time in the trenches defending the hard core by beautifying the gardens around the citadel with a dose, here and there, of moderation.
In this regard surely Brad Delong, Paul Krugman, and Joe “the riddler” Stiglitz are the new superheroes of liberalism.
If this seems all very odd read the two essays below and follow the links: watch out though it is a bit of a rabbit hole.