Professor David Miles’s letter (July 5) illustrates much that is wrong with economics as an academic discipline.
For brevity, I mention three examples. First, the very idea of investing for pensions at a negative real return is simply preposterous.
Second, the professor criticises your correspondent Martin Wolf for providing no quantification of the chances of generating less than a 3 per cent surplus over the yield on what Miles calls “safe real assets”.
He then admits that the future is characterised by “radical uncertainty”, a state where, as he acknowledges, “there is no scientific basis on which to form any calculable probability whatever” (quoting John Maynard Keynes). Third, the professor reveals his conception of investment by describing it as “taking a bet”.
Concluding, the professor expresses sympathy for students “who will face higher fees”. My sympathy for them relates to what they are being taught.
Tadworth, Surrey, UK