REG: All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us? XERXES: Brought peace. REG: Oh. Peace? Shut up!
– Source: Monty Pythonâ€™s Life of Brian
There is an amusing rejoinder in the letters section of the current issue of Nature to a recent piece there saying that economics needs a â€œscientific revolutionâ€.
In his Essay ‘Economics needs a scientific revolution’ (Nature 455, 1181; 2008), Jean-Philippe Bouchaud cites the Moon landings as a remarkable achievement of physics and asks, rhetorically, what economics can offer as its flagship achievement. I submit that a society prosperous enough to pay for Moon landings is one such achievement.
Jesper Stage, Department of Economics, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Nicely played, even if a bit over-aggressive in its claims for economics.