In the 19th century, when it became clear that the net effect of having a doctor assist a woman in child-birth was to increase the probability that she would die, western society faced a choice:
– Get rid of doctors; or
– Insist that they wash their hands.
I do not want western society to get rid of economists. But to remain viable, our profession needs to be open to the possibility that in a few cases, a few of its members are doing enormous harm
On his blog economist Paul Romer asks for a rigorous review of the harm and good that is done by economists and the influence they have on society. On foreign affairs, he has also written a book review that dives deeper into the topic.