Who is Anatole Kaletsky? Evidently, he is an "economist." Well, more like a journalist-economist-consultant-forecaster. That is, he is a snake-oil salesman; which is to say, he is richer than you or I.
In this fine piece, Kaletsky argues that economists must take the blame for the current financial crisis. Well, not all economists, of course. Not economists like Kaletsky, for example. Not the "talking head" economists, or the economists who like to forecast things. The blame lies with academic economists...like me. Well, I am sorry. I am truly sorry for causing the crisis.
The fault lies with academics who plant crazy ideas into the minds of people (adults who cannot possibly be held responsible for what they learn). Crazy ideas like efficient markets, the glory of capitalism, blah, blah, blah. One can certainly see how these crazy ideas have manifested themselves as unbridled capitalism run amok (it is inconvenient here to observe that the financial sector is by far the most heavily regulated sector in any "well-developed" economy).
To flash his eruditeness, Kaletsky offers us the following quote from Keynes:
Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.
I like this quote and agree with it. Kaletsky evidently believes that the economist is to blame for this; rather than the madmen who adopt their ideas. Evidently, Kaletsky must have skipped some classes at Cambridge. I see that Keynes (1923) also said:
The theory of economics does not furnish a body of settled conclusions immediately applicable to policy. It is a method rather than a doctrine, an apparatus of the mind, a technique of thinking which helps its possessor to draw correct conclusions.
This is something that Kaletsky evidently does not understand. He certainly shows none of the humility that academic economists demonstrate when it comes to understanding the world around them. For example, take a look at Kaletsky's bold predictions for the economy (made January 2008), Goodbye to all that: the worst is over for the global credit crunch.
His predictions are as follows:
 The global credit crisis is now almost over;
 There will be no U.S. recession;
 Stock markets around the world will rise in 2008;
 There will be a "decoupling" between the U.S. and Asia;
 The sterling will fall against every other major currency
Incredibly, every single one of his predictions failed to materialize. This takes an incredible amount of skill (generally, bullshit forecasts can expect to be correct 50% of the time). But I suppose that the fault here again lies with academic economists. Shame on all of you!