Re: The science of Economics
It's always struck me as rather pathetic how desperately economists want to be treated as a 'hard' science. It's a social science, which is indeed a type of science; it's arguably tougher than the physical sciences (since generally speaking, once you're outside the quantum level, the objects physical sciences measure rarely decide to change their behaviour completely and en masse in a short space of time). But that lumps them in with Sociology and Anthropology and Psychology and Political Science, which economists want to look down on (because they tend to disagree with most of what economists say people are like). Suggesting that they're on equal footing with such lesser being is a sure-fire way to wind up Econ grads.
As to the article... so, it doesn't matter that we're not spending money on science because other people are. That's definitely not an utterly idiotic answer, well done Tim. And the past 30 years of relentless deregulation and opening things up to competition has somehow coincided with average productivity growth falling enormously, with a particular correlation between the places where growth was worst and those industrialized countries which engaged in the most aggressive deregulation. Even if the bleeding edge has remained more or less at the same level of productivity as 30 years ago, that none the less suggests that there's an error in your argument that more competition will solve the problem.