Do a Eugene Fama — help create a financial crisis and get a Nobel prize

2 Nov, 2013 at 23:21 | Posted in Economics | 2 Comments

Eugene Fama just received a Nobel Prize for his contributions to the theory of “efficient financial markets,” the dominant theory in financial economics that asserts that markets work ideally if not constrained by government regulation. The fact that economic “science” teaches that unregulated financial markets work effectively helped financial institutions and the rich accomplish their goal of radical financial market deregulation in the 1980s and 1990s. Deregulation, in turn, not only contributed to the rising inequality of the era, it helped cause the global financial market crisis that began in 2007 and the deep recession and austerity fiscal policies that accompanied it.

funThe theory of efficient financial markets requires the union of two ideas: the “efficient market hypothesis” (or EMH) and optimal (security) pricing theory (OPT) …

The EMH is simply an assumption or assertion with no supporting evidence that all information relevant to the correct pricing of securities is known by all market participants. For long-term assets such as stocks and bonds, the relevant information is the cash flows associated with each security in every future time period. Yet it is logically impossible for anyone to know this information because the future is not yet determined in the present; the future is uncertain. Nevertheless, defenders of efficiency adopted the “rational expectations” hypothesis, perhaps the most ludicrous assumption in the history of social science, which asserts that all investors know the correct probability distributions of all future security cash flows and believe that they will not change over time …

The capital asset pricing model itself embodies a large number of grossly unrealistic assumptions in addition to the assumed knowledge of the future embedded in the EMH … One might think that the whole financial market-efficiency project should have been rejected out of hand because it is founded on a large set of unrealistic assumptions about how financial markets work. Yet not only is it still the dominant theory of financial markets, Nobel Prizes have been awarded to its originators.

The objective of the ideological project of the economics profession in the current era is to provide a theoretical foundation for unregulated financial markets and unregulated capitalism. The fact that the project has succeeded in the face of logic and history is admittedly a fantastic conjurers’ trick, but it is ridiculous to award Nobel Prizes to the conjurers. We should not give prizes to people for the creation and propagation of an ideologically-based theory that strengthened the drive for the radical financial deregulation and thus helped create a global depression.

James R. Crotty, Professor Emeritus of Economics and Sheridan Scholar at University of Massachusetts


  1. Indeed:

    The illusion of the self-regulating society through the deregulated market

  2. Reblogged this on 06cedmuho.

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