More economists with balls needed


by Chris Becker

From the bowels of Ross Gittins comes “Positions vacant: the nation needs economists (women preferred)

Never in the field of economic conflict was so much analytical effort devoted to so few… as in Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe’s one-man crusade to save the economics profession.

This latter-day Lord Kitchener wants more young Australians studying economics at high school and university… His message: Your country needs you…

According to the 2016 census, fewer than 3000 people work as economists, even though there are 73,000 people with post-school qualifications in economics. What’s worse, only about two-thirds of people working as economists actually hold a qualification in economics.

Young women, in particular, should look at themselves in the mirror and ask the hard question: for what good reason have I not to become an economist? Why should I squander my life on any lesser calling than the orderly regulation of mammon?

How about increasing the professionalism of the industry instead?

How about some accountability for the botched forecasts, the dodgy ‘cash for comment’ economic modelling, the complete misreading of the housing bubble and the mining boom, the obsession with headline GDP over wellbeing, and the lack of rigour at the top of the field – the RBA and Treasury?

How about some questions about why no professional (sic) economist picked the greatest financial disaster of the 21st century? Or why there has been no serious consideration of removing some of the failed “theories” that brought about the GFC from the Bibles and Gospels espoused at the economic degree factories across the land?


How about less propaganda about how loading yourself or your country to the eyeballs in debt on unproductive assets like property while eschewing any sort of real investment say in infrastructure, energy or heaven forbid – blue sky research, just because the latter can’t be “modelled”?

Or what about admitting that turning the dial up to 11 on the immigration meter hasn’t brought prosperity to all, only inflated an empty GDP figure and the ego of economists who espouse that failed con-game?

And finally, how about picking someone based on their merit, their character and their ability instead of their gender?


What has gender got to do with being a good economist? There’s plenty of sub-par female AND male economists out there, or do we have to do a Gillette ad for failing to empower the flailing female ones too?

Maybe Ross Gittins doesn’t have the cajones to stand up to the dismal scientists at Martin Place and tell them to take a good hard and long look at themselves and realise their “science” has a lot of catching up to do.