Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Which experts are really independent?

My near neighbour Paddy Ashdown makes much of the Remain opinions of organisations he describes as independent, the CBI, OECD, IMF, Ofice of budget responsibility etc, etc. his favourite attack line delivered in his usual pompous manner to whoever is talking for Brexit is to ask his 'simple' question as he always calls it which organisation of repute supports leaving the EU.

This implies that experts are always right something which is demonstrably false with Gove, Fox etc pointing out these are the same organisations and experts who wanted us to join the Euro, think especially of Tarzan Hesleltine in this regard a man who once behaved like a football hooligan in the HoC with the Speakers mace. I suggest Paddy reads the wisdom of crowds link below,



There are a number of other books on the same theme. What is not so well explained is that a group with a basic knowledge of a subject are as good or better than highly paid so callled experts.

Those behavioral psycologists who earn their living in this area have written many papers debunking the myth of the highly paid expert.



Then of course there is the common sense that experts say what the people who pay them, in this case the EU, want them to say. Dan Hannan is especially good on this click on




But there is another aspect to this expert group think. In March 1981 Thatchers government had real financial recessionary problems and her chancellor Howe decided to put up tax to balance the budget. The whole of the economic world all 364 of them including on Marvyn King signed a letter with the same warnings of impending caratstrophe which we now know as Project Fear The Labour front bench adopted the Paddy tactics of demanding Mrs T name two reputable independent academic economists who supported her actions. Quick as a flash Mrs T respomded Alan Walters, Prof at LSE and Patrick Minford Prof at Liverpool.and the Tory benches were well pleased and Thatcher was proven right when the economy rapiidly recovered.

Now it just so happens I knew both Alan Walters and Patrick Minford. Minford was Walters PhD student so not quite independent one might say. But the same applies to the ecanomists the IMF etc. They all swim in the same pond are fed by the same hand and cannot therefore be considered anything like independent. To achieve real statistical independence you need an random sample from a wide population not a few well paid experts. Economic expertise is a myth as reliable as Mystic Meg or Prince Monolulu for the old racing men.


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