Sir, - I refer to your chap Dick Walsh's column (January 4th) in which he is fairly scathing about economists. Look, this kind of thing won't do.

Let me cite Margaret Thatcher gas an example. Mrs Thatcher holds a university degree in science. She's a BSc. Does this mean that she is actually a scientist? I can confidently say that she is no more a scientist in her thinking than I am a cardinal. Probably less so, since I reckon I'd make a pretty hot-shot cardinal.

Likewise with economists. They go to their colleges, they are tutored by other "economists", they are ceremoniously given a parchment proclaiming "it says here that I am an economist" and there you are. What they actually learn is a cobbling together of statistics (which is almost entirely a load of adding up and poodling about), elementary business procedures, basic accountancy methodologies, and a few bits and bobs, together with an overview of whatever mess previous "economists" have made of things.

Fine but it has no more to do with actual economics in any real sense than the Ballymun Towers have to do with a gracious and ennobling architecture. Surely a soi-disant quality paper like yours should be aware of this. - Yours, etc.,

4 Ardenza Terrace, Monkstown, Co Dublin.