book smarts, street smarts.
economists are semi-intelligent geeks who cower behind semi-accurate (but never predictive) models instead of embracing the world.
the study of economics is a psychological substitute for the doing of it and is therefore predispositive of a failure to acquire wealth.
and yes, you are right to assume that economists don’t make any real money.
the exceptions only prove the rule, e.g. the odd investment banker or industrialist who self-brands as an economist—and is one, after a fashion, but not in the way that jeffrey sachs is.
there is one other aspect to this. whenever i have tried to make money and my starting point was an idea, i didn’t make a dime. when i have made money, it was by scaling up something that i was already doing that was making money—something i was doing instinctively, naturally, almost without thinking about it.
the point being, when the wheels of commerce are engaged, it is by way of circumstance-specific knowledge, the likes of which falls outside the scope of economic models.
ideas, even accurate ones, are far too general to serve as jumping off points for the kind of economic engagement that leads to wealth.
finally, most economics is no damn good. there have been a few very, very good economists. but what passes for economics in a university department is a god-awful frankensteinian mash-up of bad math, bad logic, and medieval scholasticism.
i used to be gung-ho about economics until i started getting clients who needed help with econ homework, and then i learned. thumbs down.
finally finally—-when was the last time an economist, or one of his theories, predicted anything? when? do tell? if the answer is—never, then you have your answer.
but to bottom line it, they’re basically cowards who prefer to hide behind the safety of a book, even if it’s really bad, than the unpredictability of reality.