A quick note regarding an item in my last blog post, and its connection to an item in the news right now: the Reinhart-Rogoff study, which has been used by many to justify austerity thinking, has been shown to be as flawed as the assumptions the IMF has made over the last few years about fiscal multipliers.And yes, I can and do extrapolate from this that quantitative data is used, perhaps gleefully, always purposefully, in a manner that reflects the intentions of the researchers, and for desired ends, particularly when it comes to fiscal policy.
As I noted in my previous post, this coupling of desire with willful blindness to certain "factual" elements that don't fit the ideal knowledge frame is an active choice. And a very conscious act. These economists and policy makers are doing what they do, where and how they do it, with an audience in mind -- perhaps a small audience of fellow economists, or a wide audience of politicians of a particular bent -- while getting a need (for certainty, or attention, or maybe to promote Randian thought?) met. How is this different from that guy who likes to jerk off near the walking path in the park?