Economics has real, unpleasant, even destructive consequences for the people of the world.
Over the last three decades, economists played an important role in creating the conditions of the 2008 crisis (and dozens of smaller financial crises that came before it since the early 1980s, such as the 1982 Third World debt crisis, the 1995 Mexican peso crisis, the 1997 Asian crisis and the 1998 Russian crisis) by providing theoretical justifications for financial deregulation and the unrestrained pursuit of short-term profits. More broadly, they advanced theories that justified the policies that have led to slower growth, higher inequality, heightened job insecurity and more frequently financial crises that have dogged the world in the last three decades… On top of that, they pushed for policies that weakened the prospects for long-term development in developing countries… In the rich countries, these economists encouraged people to overestimate the power of new technologies…, made people’s lives more and more unstable…, made them ignore the loss of national control over the economy…, and rendered them complacent about de-industrialization… Moreover, they supplied arguments that insist that all these economic outcomes that many people find objectionable in this world – such as rising inequality…, sky-high executive salaries… or extreme poverty in poor countries… – are really inevitable, given (selfish and rational) human nature and the need to reward people according to their productive contributions.
In other words, economics has been worse than irrelevant. Economics, as it has been practised in the last three decades, has been positively harmful for most people.
Ha-Joon Chang, 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism. Bloomsbury Press (2011)