April 8, 2015

Lazy or stupid or both?

Comment on ‘Modern macroeconomics — an intellectually lazy ideology’


Diane Coyle writes:
“I think an honest conventionally-trained economist has to at least acknowledge that we grew intellectually lazy about this [the assumption of rational choice].” (See intro)

This statement implies that the representative economist is capable of thinking but only too lazy to apply his full capacities. An alternative explanation for the manifest scientific failure of economists could be that they are substandard thinkers.

Students in any scientific discipline are expected to find out whether their teacher's theory is true or false or incomplete. Growth of knowledge is what science is all about. Hence, the acceptance of basic tenets of conventional economics is strongly indicative of a lack of scientific acumen. From a student who has accepted utility maximization, rational choice, or supply-demand-equilibrium as an explanation no contribution to real scientific progress is to be expected.

At the moment economics is the mindless perpetuation of proto-scientific stuff. An honest conventionally-trained economist has to at least ask himself how it could happen that he and other seemingly intelligent persons could ever accept the green cheese assumptionism and the logical defects of Econ 101.

The wonder of economics is the large number of generations of well-trained students that have faithfully recycled intellectual junk.

In the final analysis it is not a question of honesty but of scientific intuition to realize that the present state of economics calls for a paradigm shift* and not for another ridiculous discussion about efficient markets.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

* for cross-references see here