The following from the FT (much compacted) and is quoted from a speech b y Martin Wolf:
Last year I enjoyed telling a number of entirely unfair jokes about economists. This year, I looked at the same source and found only one joke about the profession's involvement in depressions. Here it is:
"Such a severe depression and banking crisis could not have been achieved by normal civil servants and politicians, it required economists' involvement."
These... are disturbing times for economists. But they are not all bad. They are also times of the highest intellectual excitement. Economists have been given the material for research programmes stretching decades into the future! Tens of thousands of PhDs, not to mention a few Nobel prizes, are surely waiting to be hatched! And if this crisis kills Real Business Cycle theory, as it surely should, it cannot be all bad.
Yet I can't get away from this feeling of inadequacy. One might not expect much from economists, but one would surely expect them to warn us of a crisis on this scale. Some humility is in order. That is going to hurt. A humble economist? Surely not.