/ Economics

Conspiracy Theory vs Academic Naiveté

I happened to be taking an economics course when oil speculators drove oil up and then down, and then the same wild money splashed its way to the food market, bringing millions close to starvation.? Our professors tried to explain it away with far-fetched ‘supply and demand’ scenarios and we felt pity for their academic naiveté.

Those who had worked in the financial industry and had a rough idea of what was going on,? even though no one knew exactly what it was — and the media was viciously blaming these ‘conspiracy theorists’ for unfounded conspiracies.

Today, at least Johann Hari of the Guardian has had the courage to narrate how these speculators jacked up the price of food just as they had jacked up the price of oil.

I quit my economic policy course in disappointment last month, my pity turned to marginal disgust at a noble profession — the heirs to Adam Smith and Ricardo and Marx — who have been slowly rubbing off their academic prestige to hide the stink of the financial waves that really drive the economy (do I deserve a prize for predicting in 2006 most of what has come to pass).? Well the stink is still there, and the academics have been robbed of their credibility.

Everywhere, we see the credibility of institution, built over centuries, being sold off for pennies.? Again, the silver lining is that we have seen it happening while it is not too late to save them with truth and candour, and some backbone.