Russ Roberts: Why Keynesians Always Get it Wrong (and Most Economists Too)


"Economics as practiced by most of the profession…is full of hubris and should be much more full of humility," says former George Mason University economist Russ Roberts, NPR commentator, host of the popular podcast Econ Talk, blogger at Cafe Hayek, and a research fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Throughout the fiscal crisis, Roberts has attacked economic stimulus plans promulgated by left-of-center Keynesians and right-of-center monetarists. Such plans, he says, almost always fail to deliver the desired results because they're predicated on a fundamentally flawed understanding of "the economy" as a single entity that can be directed one way or another. (This is one of the themes of the "Fear the Boom and Bust" rap videos Roberts co-created at

Which isn't to say that there aren't better or worse policies to follow. We may not be able to control the economy says Roberts, but we can make it easier for it to function by following what he calls "general principles that are pretty timeless." These include a government that lives within its means and investors who are held accountable when their investments go belly up.

Reason TV's Nick Gillespie sat down with Roberts to discuss the failure of macroeconomics, his move from the free-market bastion George Mason University to Hoover Institution, and his new online project, "The Numbers Game."

About 6 minutes.

Produced by Joshua Swain, with help from Amanda Winkler.

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