Paul Krugman, Nobel Laureate, says that I am an economist. From Peddling Prosperity, which I finished shortly before Christmas:
But where do ideas about economics come from? They come, of course, from economists — where by an “economist” I mean someone who thinks and writes regularly about economic issues. (p. 7)
In the past year, I’ve become increasingly known as an economist in my social sphere, with some colleagues even going so far as to seek my learned opinion on tax policy and the financial mess. Even if I rarely have the expertise I’m thought to have, my vanity luxuriates in the title, and I consider it a great compliment. Nonetheless, my view is that it is better to have some advanced training in the discipline (or at the very least in something rigorous) before dubbing oneself an economist.
Krugman’s definition is not bad, though it may need updating since he wrote it in the mid-90s–well before Web 2.0. My qualifier would be that an economist should be paid for his pontifications. So honorable a title should not be bestowed merely because some freak–like me!–has a blog and some spare time
In any event, regardless of whether you’re an economist or not, Peddling Prosperity is the best book you’ll find for discerning sense from nonsense in economic policy, and I recommend it heartily.