When in Crisis, Insult Sociologists?

Via Brad DeLong, Eric Falkenstein praises Macroeconomics with faint damns:

Macroeconomics is the triumph of hope over experience, and has been no more successful than sociology.

Insulting our betters will not put economists in good stead. As Paul Krugman frequently notes, “Economics is…not quite as hard as sociology.”*

But Falkenstein makes up for this lapse, perhaps, with his conclusion:

Macroeconomists are demonstrably not helpful to those institutions that could use economic expertise. Macroeconomists know a lot of stuff, just not anything useful.

I’ll still maintain, and am pleased to see John Quiggin appearing to concur, that The Problem with Macro is believing that it must be a subset of Micro in general and “rational expectations” in particular, leaving the question of what exactly Macro contributes as an exercise. So I’m less ready to make that declaration that Dr. Falkenstein is. But my previous following-the-Devil-in-the-desert comment (see the Update here) seems more and more the correct description of modern macro.

At least when physics looks for GUTs, they know when they haven’t found one.

*It is left as an exercise to the reader whether the elided part of that quotation is true, a comparison of apples and oranges, or misses that physics includes people and matter.