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2016–The year when politics will trump economics

First published:, 31/12/2015

If Britain votes to leave the EU, then all hopes of economic recovery could sink without trace

It’s that time of year when economic forecasters think people really want to know what they think about economic prospects for the coming year. Ever since the financial crisis of 2008, I have often wondered why. It brings to mind the words attributed variously to Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln: that it’s better to be silent and be thought a fool than open your mouth and prove it. So with those words ringing loud—some scene-setting for 2016.

An important reason why economists seem to be floundering nowadays is because our “discipline” has become impregnated with unpredictable politics. ’Twas always thus, as any student of the history of economic thought can confirm. But in the 1980s and until the financial crisis, it became fashionable, even a badge of honour, to claim that what used to be called political economy was no more. Now it’s back with a vengeance…Read more: