Shoulda seen this coming: Capitalist libertarians don’t like economists either



Fig. 1. The confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers, with the “Golden Triangle” and downtown Pittsburgh. Photograph by author, October 15, 2023.

Finleyville isn’t terribly far from where I live. I did receive an emergency alert advising that a tornado had touched down in my area. I looked out my window and saw the usual peaceful situation so didn’t worry about it. But the alert didn’t tell me precisely where. I’m actually a bit more alarmed now.

Jeff Himler, “Tornados confirmed in Washington, Fayette counties from weekend storms,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 12, 2024,


Ideology as ‘science:’ economics

Fig. 2. “Portrait of the political economist and philosopher Adam Smith (1723-1790) by an unknown artist, which is known as the ‘Muir portrait’ after the family who once owned it. The portrait was probably painted posthumously, based on a medallion by James Tassie.” Scottish National Gallery, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

I was doomscrolling through Apple News when I saw what would seem to be a rather surprising Forbes article. I’ve seen plenty of criticism of economics from leftist or left-leaning folks. And when I was in the Communication program at California State University, East Bay, it was whispered that as a field, Economics was more ideology than science, for its advocacy of so-called “free” (always ask 1) for whom, 2) to do what, 3) to whom, 4) at whose expense) market economics.

This criticism comes from someone who strongly appears to be capitalist libertarian. I’m not quite sure what his beef is but he prefers Adam Smith, whom he is at pains to point out wasn’t an economist (this is less impressive when you consider that in those days—Smith wrote in the 18th century—academia was far less specialized than it is now):

[Ben] Bernanke wrote that the [Federal Reserve] “expected that lower yields in the Treasury market would result in lower yields elsewhere – for example, on residential and commercial mortgages and corporate bonds.” Oh, the conceit of PhDs! The thinking was that “lower long-term private sector interest rates should stimulate business investment and consumer spending new cars and housing.” Oh well, this is fun. Or sad: economists believe consumption powers economic growth, which is like a climatologist asserting that icy roads cause snow.[1]

This gets pretty deep in the weeds, certainly deeper than I’m prepared to go. But yeah, that consumption drives economic growth has been pretty basic—even I wouldn’t challenge it—for quite a while. What I’ll note is that capitalist libertarians also favor the gold standard, because they think currencies should not so much be to facilitate economic exchange as they should be investments, which is why they love Bitcoin, a pump-and-dump scam, which in turn tells you something about their taste in investments.

Be amused, but take nothing John Tamny says seriously.

John Tamny, “Every So Often Ben Bernanke Reminds Us Why Economists Are So Dangerous,” Forbes, May 12, 2024,


Commercial real estate

Fig. 1. The confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers, with the “Golden Triangle” and downtown Pittsburgh. Photograph by author, October 15, 2023.

Roland Li, “‘Doom, but not loop’: Has San Francisco dodged the worst-case scenario?” San Francisco Chronicle, May 13, 2024,




Fig. 3. The ruins of a terminal at the Gaza airport. Image by Said Khatib (Agence France-Presse) on September 9, 2018, via the Times of Israel,[2] fair use.

Kareem Fahim and Adela Suliman, “Israel shuts down Al Jazeera’s operations, raids Jerusalem office,” Washington Post, May 5, 2024,

Barak Ravid, “U.S. put a hold on an ammunition shipment to Israel,” Axios, May 5, 2024,

Stephen Zunes, “Don’t Buy the Right-Wing Disinformation Campaign on ‘From the River to the Sea,’” Truthout, May 5, 2024,

Emanuel Fabian, “IDF tells 100,000 Palestinians to evacuate eastern Rafah ahead of planned offensive,” Times of Israel, May 6, 2024,

Harold Meyerson, “Who Created the Israel-Palestine Conflict?” American Prospect, May 6, 2024,

Abeer Salman et al., “Israel says Rafah operations will go ahead as Hamas deal remains ‘far’ from meeting its demands,” Cable News Network, May 6, 2024,

Thomas J. Sugrue, “College Presidents Behaving Badly,” Chronicle of Higher Education, May 6, 2024,

Ishaan Tharoor, “What lies beneath Gaza’s rubble and ruin,” Washington Post, May 6, 2024,

Alexander Ward, Lara Seligman, and Erin Banco, “US fears Israel speeding up Rafah invasion timeline after deadly Hamas attack,” Politico, May 6, 2024,

John Hudson, “U.S. paused shipment of thousands of bombs to Israel amid Rafah rift,” Washington Post, May 7, 2024,

Yasmeen Abutaleb, “Biden says he will cut off offensive weapons if Israel invades Rafah,” Washington Post, May 8, 2024,

Jordan Fabian and Galit Altstein, “US Pauses Arms Shipment to Israel Over Rafah Invasion Plans,” Bloomberg, May 8, 2024,

Jacob Magid, “US confirms holding up sale of heavy bombs it feared Israel would use in Rafah,” Times of Israel, May 8, 2024,

Barak Ravid, “Blinken report expected to criticize Israel, but say it isn’t breaking weapons terms,” Axios, May 9, 2024,

Ishaan Tharoor, “Israel puts Rafah in the eye of the storm,” Washington Post, May 9, 2024,

John Hudson, “U.S. says Israel may have violated humanitarian law using American weapons,” Washington Post, May 10, 2024,

Toluse Olorunnipa and Jacqueline Alemany, “Biden’s isolation grows as Gaza report both criticizes and clears Israel,” Washington Post, May 10, 2024,

Times of Israel, “Report: State Department set to confirm Israel not breaking international law in Gaza,” May 10, 2024,

United Nations News, “UN General Assembly presses Security Council to give ‘favourable consideration’ to full Palestinian membership,” May 10, 2024,

Brett Wilkins, “Biden ‘Moving the Goal Post’ With Threat to Withhold Bombs from Israel,” Inter Press Service, May 10, 2024,

Jason Burke, Lorenzo Tondo, and Malak A. Tantesh, “Terrified families flee Rafah as Israel set to open all-out assault,” Guardian, May 11, 2024,

Richard Luscombe and Edward Helmore, “‘Strategic and moral mistakes’: US politicians step up condemnation of Israel,” Guardian, May 12, 2024,

David Remnick, “An Israeli Newspaper Presents Truths Readers May Prefer to Avoid,” New Yorker, May 12, 2024,

Ishaan Tharoor, “Why Spain will recognize a Palestinian state,” Washington Post, May 13, 2024,

  1. [1]John Tamny, “Every So Often Ben Bernanke Reminds Us Why Economists Are So Dangerous,” Forbes, May 12, 2024,
  2. [2]Times of Israel, “20 years after its opening, destroyed Gaza airport embodies grounded peace hopes,” September 12, 2018,

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