March 22, 2017

Pre-truth and post-truth in economics

Comment on Peter Dorman on ‘Fifty Shades of Yellow? Post-Truth Then and Now’

Blog-Reference and Blog-Reference

The economist Peter Dorman complains about post-truth spasms that “have characterized media outlets in the English-speaking world ever since the advent of the printing press.” This critique is correct but misplaced. The business of the press has always been storytelling, opinion, entertainment, propaganda, and providing a suitable environment for advertising, but NOT truth. Truth is the mission of science. For the economist this means: “In order to tell the politicians and practitioners something about causes and best means, the economist needs the true theory or else he has not much more to offer than educated common sense or his personal opinion.” (Stigum)

Peter Dorman’s critique of the media distracts from the fact that economics lacks the true theory. Scientific truth is well-defined as material and formal consistency since the ancient Greeks introduced the distinction between opinion (= doxa) and knowledge (= episteme).

Economics claims since Adam Smith/Karl Marx to be a science. Yet, it is pretty obvious ― except to economists ― that the four main approaches ― Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism ― are mutually contradictory, axiomatically false, materially/ formally inconsistent, and all got the pivotal concept of the subject matter, i.e. profit, wrong.

As a cargo cult science economics is since 200+ years at the pre-truth stage but economists tell the general public the post-truth that what they are doing is science. The truth is that the representative economist is a political agenda pusher just like the representative journalist.*

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

* See also ‘When fake scientists call out on fake politicians

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REPLY to Barkley Rosser on Mar 23

“A satisfactory theory of profits is still elusive.” (Palgrave Dictionary, Desai, 2008)

From this incontrovertible fact follows:
(i) Economists lack the true theory. Because the foundational economic concept profit is not properly defined and understood the whole analytical superstructure of economics falls apart.

(ii) Neither Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism satisfies the scientific criteria of material and formal consistency.

(iii) Neither the defense nor the critique of the market economy ever had sound scientific foundations.

(iv) No economic policy advice ever had sound scientific foundations.

(v) Smith, Ricardo, Malthus, Marx, Keynes, Hayek, Friedman, Krugman, Lucas, Dorman, Rosser and almost everybody in-between falls into the category of fake scientist.

(vi) Economics is NOT part of science but of the entertainment industry. The iconic sitcom economist is Krugman who has not realized that IS-LM is false in every methodological dimension but has an opinion on any topic between unemployment, pop music, Joseph Stalin and Donald Trump.

(vii) Economics is what Feynman called cargo cult science or what we today call fake science. In order that economics finally becomes a science, political clowns  have to be thrown out.