When do we believe the experts?

Belief in anthropogenic global warming is a sort of political signifier for American liberals – if you don’t think human activity is changing the Earth’s climate, they’re probably not going to take you very seriously. This is not because every leftist has independently verified the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s findings and concluded that people who disagree are blinkered or stupid. Instead, liberals quite sensibly think that when a critical mass of scientists arrive at a certain conclusion, we should take that conclusion as a given and proceed accordingly. … …

Barring real evidence of systematic bias or incompetence, I’m willing to accept the consensus view of specialists in most fields. … … So here’s my question … : Why don’t we accord the same level of deference to economists? Shouldn’t the pro-free trade consensus within the field of economics be as bullet-proof as belief in global warming?

It’s not a partisan issue – in my opinion, the best introduction to the benefits of international trade was written by Paul Krugman. And the strength of the pro-free trade consensus in economics is at least as robust as the consensus view among climatologists. There are a few high profile dissenters, but those exist in every field, including climatology.

via The League of Ordinary Gentlemen.

Some 20 years ago, I had doubts as to whether global warming was real, and I thought the North American Free Trade Agreement was a good idea.  I changed my mind in both cases because of the evidence.  All of the predictions in regard to global warming have come true.  None of the predictions of the benefits of the free trade agreements have come true.

I write “free trade agreements” instead of “free trade” to sidestep the question of whether the pure theory of free trade has ever been implemented in practice.

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