Should-Read: The swipe at Tony Blair is, I think, undeserved. If the Athenian demos can vote to reverse its previous-day's massacre decree before upon being convinced by Diodotos son of Eukrates that that vote was a mistake, the sovereign Queen-in-Parliament of the United Kingdom can--and I believe should--reject the narrow majority for BREXIT produced by the advisory vote. And the swipe at the OBR for simply doing its job is definitely undeserved, and unfair. The possibility that BREXIT will in the end be seen as having accelerated British economic growth is definitely a possibility out in the tail of the probability distribution.

If I were Wolfgang, I would tear up this current column of his and write another one, starting from the end of the current column. Start by saying that the first and most important economic-policy job of the elected leaders of a democracy is to maintain a high-pressure low-unemployment economy. Continue by saying that the second but subsidiary task is then to manage finances so that that high-pressure low-unemployment economy does not produced either undue inflation or unmanageable structural imbalances. Then note that economists' first job is to remind the elected leaders of what their tasks are. Then note that economists' second job is to give the elected leaders policy options that will (a) maintain a high-pressure low-unemployment economy economy, and (b) manage finances to prevent either undue inflation or unmanageable structural imbalances.

Conclude by saying that the economics profession has failed to do its job--but be sure to include a coda listing honorable exceptions.

Wolfgang Munchau: The Elite’s Marie Antoinette Moment: "The Bourbons were hard to beat as the quintessential out-of-touch establishment. They have competition now...

...We--the gatekeepers of the global liberal order--keep on doubling down. The campaign by Tony Blair, former UK prime minister, to undo Brexit is probably the quaintest example of all.... The truth about the impact of Brexit is that it is uncertain, beyond the ability of any human being to forecast and almost entirely dependent on how the process will be managed. “Don’t know” is the technically correct answer....

The correct course of action would be to stop insulting voters and, more importantly, to solve the problems of an out-of-control financial sector, uncontrolled flows of people and capital, and unequal income distribution.... Imagine what would have been possible if Chancellor Angela Merkel had spent her even larger political capital on finding a solution to the eurozone’s multiple crises, or on reducing Germany’s excessive current account surpluses. If you want to fight extremism, solve the problem.

But it is not happening for the same reason it did not happen in revolutionary France. The gatekeepers of western capitalism, like the Bourbons before them, have learnt nothing and forgotten nothing.

Comments