True, economics is about profit maximization, and when this is considered the central concern of the state, decision-making becomes much easier.
But what is wanted today is not rational economic choice, but a rational assessment of the destructive impacts of sustained economic growth.
For nations to take concerted, earth-saving moves that transcend immediate self-interests, self-serving impulses have to be regulated by politics, ideology, morality, or religion.
Strangely, Caplan appears distrustful of these unprofitable distractions.
"Political/economic ideology is the religion of modernity. Like the adherents of traditional religion, many people find comfort in their political worldview and greet critical questions with pious hostility," he bemoans.
But this takes the cake:
The author than refutes the view that economists, being "sycophantic apologists of the unfair class interests of the bourgeois exploiter," tend to extol the virtues of markets, trade and efficiency.