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  • Subject

    empty suit

    SIAM NEWS, June 2008, p. 7:
    The "empty-suit problem" (or "expert problem") is that many so-called experts are no more knowledgeable than the rest of the population in their alleged fields of expertise, yet (despite track records documenting their cluelessness) continue to be accepted as experts. Clinical psychologists, academic economists, risk managers, CEOs, political and military analysts are among those he identifies as empty suits
    empty suit (plural empty suits)
    A person ineffective or incompetent in his/her position of authority. Derived from unfavorable observations that ineffective professionals are memorable only for what they wear and not what they accomplish at the workplace. [c. 1970]

    Robert Chapman, Dictionary of American Slang, 3rd ed.:
    empty suit n phr 1980s A person of seeming distinction who is actually the product of publicity: Steven Brill calls him an "empty suit" whose main talent is getting his name in the papers ..." -- Us Magazine
    AuthorNorbert Juffa (unplugged_08 Jun 08, 01:50
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