Tag Archives: pseudo-science

A Science of Economies?

[This is a more technical post, addressed to those interested in re-making the field of economics into something relevant, informed and capable of self-improvement.]

Debates about whether economics is or can ever be a science appear frequently on the Real World Economics blog, such as making economics a relevant science.  Perhaps more in the subsequent comments than in the articles themselves, there are some recurring confusions and misconceptions, such as whether mathematics should be involved, about what the role of mathematics might be, about “prediction” as a necessary part of a science, about the role of assumptions and approximations, about whether any study involving people can ever be a science and, fundamentally, about what science really is.

I have commented in passing on this topic before, for example here, but in this comment I’d like to offer a more focussed discussion.

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“Sack the Economists” on RWER blog

An article on the Real World Economics Review blog:

Non-mainstream economists are all-too aware of the failure of mainstream economists to anticipate, let alone avoid, the Global Financial Crisis and the ensuing Great Recession.  The mainstream profession is also failing to fix the problem, and is actually making it worse.

It is hard to get alternative views heard, and the mainstream carries on almost totally unperturbed, despite being centrally responsible for a global disaster.  This is of course extremely frustrating.

After reading yet another cri de coeur from yet another frustrated economist, I thought perhaps we need to spell out the message in all bluntness

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Sack the Economists? On Steve Keen’s Debtwatch

Steve Keen has posted a guest post on his popular Debtwatch website.

Read­ers of this blog will have encoun­tered the idea that near-equilibrium neo­clas­si­cal eco­nomic the­ory is irrel­e­vant to dynamic, far-from-equilibrium, real mod­ern economies, and that the body of the­ory built around the neo­clas­si­cal assump­tions is full of incon­sis­ten­cies.  You will also be famil­iar with the idea that money and debt play cen­tral, dynamic roles in mod­ern economies.

Yet it can be argued there are other equally fun­da­men­tal flaws in the broader stream of the­ory and prac­tice that might be called main­stream eco­nom­ics.

– See more at: http://www.debtdeflation.com/blogs/2013/12/07/sack-the-economists/#sthash.oWYTzwRS.dpuf

Sack the Economists

… and disband their departments

The honourable Alan Greenspan testifies before...

The honourable Alan Greenspan testifies before the House Financial Services Committee. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[My silence for some time here has been mainly because I was focussed on re-packaging my economic ideas in a form that might gain more traction.  So, there is a new book manuscript of the above title.  It will help to promote it (to publishers) if I have readers’ reactions.  Therefore, if you will undertake to give me feedback, I will supply you with the draft MS (120 pages, 2.2 Mb pdf).  You don’t have to be expert, it’s for a general audience and so I want feedback from that audience.  Most helpful to me will be comments on its readability and interest.  Of course any discussion of its arguments are also welcome.]

Here is the first part of the introductory chapter.  I will post more in a few days.

Chapter 1.  Economists Don’t Know What They’re Talking About

In 1994 Paul Ormerod published a book called The Death of Economics1.  He argued economists don’t know what they’re talking about.  In 2001 Steve Keen published a book called Debunking Economics: the naked emperor of the social sciences2, with a second edition in 2011 subtitled The naked emperor dethroned?3.  Keen also argued economists don’t know what they’re talking about.

Neither of these books, nor quite a few others, has had the desired effect.  Mainstream economics has sailed serenely on its way, declaiming, advising, berating, sternly lecturing, deciding, teaching, pontificating.  Meanwhile half of Europe and many regions and groups in the United States are in depression, and fascism is making a comeback.  The last big depression spawned Hitler.  This one is promoting Golden Dawn in Greece and similar extremist movements elsewhere.  In the anglophone world a fundamentalist right-wing ideology is enforcing an increasingly narrow political correctness centred on “free” markets and the right of the rich to do and say whatever they like.  “Freedom”, but only for some and without responsibility.

Evidently Ormerod and Keen were too subtle.  It’s true their books also get a bit technical at times, especially Keen’s, but then they were addressing the profession, trying to bring it to its senses, to reform it from the inside.  That seems to have been their other mistake.  They produced example after example of how mainstream ideas fail, but still they had no effect.  I think the message was addressed to the wrong audience, and was just too subtle.  Economics is naked and dead, but never mind the stink, just prop up the corpse and carry on.

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Finding a Framework for a New Economics – Expanded

[I expanded the introduction to the original post and sent it to Real World Economics Review Blog, where it is now posted.]

The challenge, and reactions to it

Many economists, and more non-economists, agree that economics needs new ideas, given the comprehensive failure of the mainstream to foresee the Global Financial Crisis and its continuing failure to lift the US and Europe out of deep recession or depression.

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How do people reject climate science? (Post)

[I recently added a page on this topic, under the AGW tab.  This post is to bring it to your attention.]

By John Cook, University of Queensland

In a previous article on The Conversation, Stephan Lewandowsky asked, why do people reject science? I’m going to take a slightly different angle and consider how people are able to reject climate science in the face of strong evidence.

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Economics as Science, and the Role of Maths

Whether economics can be a science, and whether mathematics has a place in economics or economic science, seem to be vexed questions among heterodox economists.  Having been a natural scientist for over four decades and thought hard about the nature of science and the place of mathematical models within it, I would hope to offer some clarification on these issues.  After discussion, this post will be put in a permanent page.

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