I have a personal pet peeve when it comes to talking about leaders or experts, and this clip captures the precise source of it:
http://www.c-spanvideo.org/appearance/587395222 (Tough to embed, but only 2.5 minutes on external site.)
Malcolm Gladwell’s point: far too often, individuals in positions of power or influence (either politically or academically) are far too overconfident in their statements/predictions. This can have very dire consequences for those under said influence. In the words of Gladwell:
If incompetence is the disease of the novice, overconfidence is the disease of the expert.
This is particularly sensitive to me because I value experts who are careful in their statements, who understand the limitations of their knowledge, and who are, well, honest. Especially in economics, where statements are often of the if-then variety, and must be taken with caution. I’d rather have the scientific truth than someone blowing smoke to sound like they are more certain than is even possible.