June 11, 2017

Needed: The Worst of the Worst of economics blogs

Comment on Barkley Rosser on ‘EconoSpeak In The Top 100 Economics Blogs’


Every good thing/institution is eventually messed up or abused. This is the social version of the Second Law of Thermodynamics which says that the total entropy of an isolated system can only increase over time. This holds for the internet in general and for economics blogs in particular: total stupidity increases over time if not actively reversed.

Since economics is a science, the basic idea of the econoblogosphere is to contribute to the dissemination and growth of knowledge. Accordingly, the econoblogosphere becomes dysfunctional if it increases opinion (= doxa) instead of knowledge (= episteme).#1 The econoblogosphere reaches the entropic maximum when it consists entirely of obsolete/ falsified models/theories, political propaganda, sitcom gossip, and disinformation.

Crap thrives in the Circus Maximus and the whole issue is not new in economics: “In economics we should strive to proceed, wherever we can, exactly according to the standards of the other, more advanced, sciences, where it is not possible, once an issue has been decided, to continue to write about it as if nothing had happened.” (Morgenstern)

Marginalism has already been dead in the cradle 140+ years ago but it returns as Marginal Revolution at the top of Prateek Agarwal’s Top 100 list. Some people still have not realized that Marginalism has been refuted on all methodological counts long ago and is scientifically indefensible.

In order to prevent the institutional degeneration of the econoblogosphere some attention management is necessary. It consists in a positive list of blogs that foster the growth of scientific knowledge and a negative list of blogs that inhibit science.

While we have any number of journalistic Top 10/100 lists that rely on the naive metric of clicks or prestige or popularity or optical/communicative attractiveness a Top Ten list of qualitatively deficient and manipulative blogs is lacking. Occasionally, one hears the complaint that posts have been blocked or removed.

It is unknown to what extent scientific standards are violated in the econoblogosphere.#2 The scientific community is based on the principle of self-governance, so the obvious question to ask is whether the economic societies could establish something like a systematic ex-post peer review including an Evidence Center for the collection and verification of complaints about agenda pushing/censorship/suppression/manipulation/ fraud.

It should be obvious that the national economic societies cannot tolerate members that violate what has been called Feynman Integrity on their internet blogs.#3

What economics needs is not only an objective list of innovative blogs that push the necessary paradigm shift but also the Top Ten of disinformation, political propaganda, and violation of scientific standards. Prateek Agarwal’s list ― whether intentionally or unintentionally does not matter ― stabilizes and reinforces established stupidity, scientific incompetence, and the political corruption of both orthodox and heterodox economics.

Economics is a failed science and Prateek Agarwal’s list provides a comprehensive overview of the proto-scientific mess.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

#1 See also ‘Economics between cargo cult, farce, and fraud
Economics and truth
Economics: The pluralism of false theories is over
Economists: Incompetent? Stupid? Corrupt?
#2 The censorship on EconoSpeak is a case in point.
#3 See also ‘Feynman Integrity, fake science and the econoblogosphere

REPLY to Barkley Rosser on Jun 11

You say: “… let me note that your big point about making a distinction between retained and distributed profits has absolutely nothing to do with any of the standard axioms of Walrasian neoclassical economics, or of the axioms or assumptions made by any of the other schools of economic thought, nothing.”

That is (i) correct and (ii) shows that you do not understand what a paradigm shift is all about. This is what Wikipedia has to say: “A paradigm shift, …, is a fundamental change in the basic concepts and experimental practices of a scientific discipline. Kuhn contrasted these shifts, which characterize a scientific revolution, to the activity of normal science, which he described as scientific work done within a prevailing framework (or paradigm).”#1

The key words are “fundamental change in the basic concepts …” which means more specifically the REPLACEMENT of false concepts by true concepts.#2 For this simple reason, the structural-systemic axioms have “absolutely nothing to do with any of the standard axioms of Walrasian neoclassical economics, or of the axioms or assumptions made by any of the other schools of economic thought, nothing.” Indeed, true and false are binary and have NOTHING in common, never had, never will.

You are consistently on the false side of the true/false divide.

#1 For details of the bigger picture see cross-references Paradigm shift
#2 See ‘First Lecture in New Economic Thinking

REPLY to Barkley Rosser on Jun 12

Economics is NOT a science, and economists are NO scientists. The objective of science is the true theory with truth well-defined as material and formal consistency. In economics the situation is this: there is political economics and theoretical economics and theoretical economics (= science) had been hijacked from the very beginning by political economists (= agenda pushers). Political economics has produced NOTHING of scientific value in the last 200+ years. Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism is axiomatically false. The four main approaches are scientifically indefensible.

This is not a big problem for the representative economist because he is ― to begin with ― NOT in the science business but in the politics business. The irreconcilable difference between scientific and political thinking has been made clear by Peirce: “A genuine inquirer aims to find out the truth of some question, whatever the color of that truth. … A pseudo-inquirer seeks to make a case for the truth of some proposition(s) determined in advance. There are two kinds of pseudo-inquirer, the sham and the fake. A sham reasoner is concerned, not to find out how things really are, but to make a case for some immovably-held preconceived conviction. A fake reasoner is concerned, not to find out how things really are, but to advance himself by making a case for some proposition to the truth-value of which he is indifferent.” (Haack)

The representative economist is NOT a scientist but a political agenda pusher. The four main approaches are NOT science but what Feynman called cargo cult science or what we have come to call fake.

Now fake is one thing but corruption is another thing. That you are talking utter nonsense on this blog is one thing but that you and your sidekick Sandwichman are blocking/framing/ removing posts on EconoSpeak is another thing.

Taken in isolation, EconoSpeak is merely a nuisance. But EconoSpeak is not an unfortunate aberration but symptomatic for the whole of economics as it presents itself in the econoblogosphere.

I have not yet posted on all blogs that are on Prateek Agarwal’s Top 100 list but I have posted on a representative sample of orthodox and heterodox blogs. What I have practically experienced is that EconoSpeak is not the proverbial rotten apple in the barrel but that the whole barrel is spoiled.#1

My actual list of the Rotten Dozen, i.e. the tip of the iceberg, is based on a raw estimation of suppressed/removed posts over a longer time span and reads: 1 Real-World Economics Review blog, 2 Economist’s View, 3 Lars P. Syll blog, 4 EconoSpeak, 5 Uneasy Money, 6 Billy blog, 7 Information Transfer Economics, 8 bradford-delong.com: Grasping Reality with Both Hands, 9 Roger Farmer’s Economic Window, 10 evonomics, 11 Institute for New Economic Thinking, 12 Worthwhile Canadian Initiative.

Time to get these stupid and corrupt political folks and the rest of Prateek Agarwal’s Top 100 list out of economics. The paradigm shift is overdue.

#1 For details of the bigger picture see cross-references Political economics

REPLY to Barkley Rosser on Jun 12

You say: “I would say I am doing better on empirical outcomes of forecasting here than you are.”

Of course, you are. Prediction/forcasting is since time immemorial the preferred artifice of political/religious brainwashers and con artists. Science does not predict.#1 But on YouTube you get as many predictions of the imminent economic collapse, WW3, and the Second Coming of Christ as you wish.

If you want to refute the systemic axiom set why do you not simply promote the testing of the structural-axiomatic Phillips curve?#2 In science, empirical testing, not futile blathering and stuttering LOL decides the matter.

#1 See ‘Science does NOT predict the future’ and ‘ICYMI Prediction/Forecasting’ and ‘Macro poultry entrails reading’ and ‘Enough! Economists, retire now!
#2 See ‘Keynes’ Employment Function and the Gratuitous Phillips Curve Disaster

REPLY to Barkley Rosser on Jun 13

The title of this thread is: “EconoSpeak In The Top 100 Economics Blogs”. Top 10/100 charts are a well-established instrument of attention-, reputation-, and trend management. Every highschool dropout in the marketing and PR business knows how to apply this simple and cost-effective instrument for selling crap to the crowd and telling the herd where to run.

To apply this instrument in the entertainment industry, though, is one thing, to apply it in the sciences is another thing. In the sciences the primary objective is NOT the growth of popularity but the growth of knowledge. To award something like Oscars in the sciences is nothing less than a takeover by the all-devouring Circus Maximus and the inevitable transmogrification of scientists into sitcom clowns.

As everybody knows by now, economics is a cargo cult science and since 200+ years as Political Economy integral part of the Circus Maximus, so a Top 100 list of economics blogs seems to be sorta-kinda appropriate.

Whatever Prateek Agarwal thinks he is doing or whatever he is trying to achieve does not matter. What he in fact does is to stabilize and reinforce established stupidity, scientific incompetence, and the political corruption of both orthodox and heterodox economics. Fact is that Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism is scientifically indefensible.

So, NOTHING what is said and proposed and argued for or against by the representative economist on the economics blogs has a sound scientific foundation.#1 Economists do not know what profit is, this is a proven fact.#2 Because of this, economics blogs have been ― until recently ― the biggest self-debunking show on earth.

In order to get out of the proto-scientific swamp, what is needed as a first step is a Top 10/100 list of blogs ranked according to the degree of stupidity, scientific incompetence, and violation of scientific standards. As Barkley Rosser and his sidekick Sandwichman have proven again in this thread, EconoSpeak deserves to be at the top of the Top 100 chart of proto-scientific rubbish and political blather.

#1 See also ‘Just another wreck
#2 See ‘Profit and the collective failure of economists

REPLY to Barkley Rosser on Jun 14

You say: “many of these people look to us to help provide this understanding and maybe even some policy answers.”

Yes, but other people have already realized that they will NOT get any help from economists, just the contrary: “… Napoleon claimed that he had always believed that if an empire were made of granite the ideas of economists, if listened to, would suffice to reduce it to dust.” (Viner)

This, for example, is true for employment policy.#1 Because employment theory is false economists bear the intellectual responsibility for the social devastation of mass unemployment from the Great Depression onward.#2

You cite the big challenges (global warming, rising income inequality, speculative bubbles). The idea that orthodox or heterodox economists solve these questions is ridiculous because economists cannot make two steps without falling over their own feet. Here is the classical case: “His Collected Writings show that he [Keynes] wrestled to solve the Profit Puzzle up till the semi-final versions of his GT but in the end he gave up and discarded the draft chapter dealing with it.” (Tómasson et al.)

And so it goes on since 80 years. After-Keynesians cannot tell until this day what macroeconomic profit is.#3 And you hallucinate: “Oh, and we all know what profits are.”

Economists have not solved the Profit Puzzle until this day and there are not more than ten persons around the world who understand the significance of the conceptual disaster at the very heart of economics.#4 You are certainly not among them.

Because economists cannot solve the elementary questions of their subject matter they are unfit for solving any problem humanity might have. And this will last until the inescapable paradigm shift happens.

#1 See ‘Unemployment is high because economics is false: period, full stop, end of story
#2 See ‘Economists and the destructive power of stupidity
#3 See ‘The Three Fatal Mistakes of Yesterday Economics: Profit, I=S, Employment
#4 “A satisfactory theory of profits is still elusive.” (Palgrave Dictionary, Desai, 2008, p. 10)