August 2, 2017

Milton Friedman, fake scientist

Comment on John B. Taylor on ‘Still Learning From Milton Friedman: Version 3.0’*


John B. Taylor argues: “In that same year Milton Friedman published Capitalism and Freedom (1962) giving the competing view. He argued that ‘the available evidence . . . casts grave doubt on the possibility of producing any fine adjustments in economic activity by fine adjustments in monetary policy — at least in the present state of knowledge . . . There are thus serious limitations to the possibility of a discretionary monetary policy and much danger that such a policy may make matters worse rather than better’.”

There are TWO economixes: political economics and theoretical economics. The main differences are: (i) The goal of political economics is to successfully push an agenda, the goal of theoretical economics is to successfully explain how the actual economy works. (ii) In political economics anything goes; in theoretical economics, the scientific standards of material and formal consistency are observed.

Political economics has produced NOTHING of scientific value in the past 200+ years. The four main approaches ― Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism ― are mutually contradictory, axiomatically false, materially/formally inconsistent, and all got profit wrong. The pluralism of provably false theories is the very definition of a proto-science or what Feynman called cargo cult science.

The lack of the true theory has grave consequences: since Adam Smith, economic policy guidance has NO sound scientific foundation. The general public always sees and discusses the policy proposals of economists but never the underlying theory, therefore it fails to see that there is a total disconnect between the two. The economists’ proposals do not follow from a valid theory because there is none.

Friedman, clearly, was a lifelong political agenda pusher and utterly incompetent scientist. Monetarism is plain proto-scientific rubbish.

“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)

Friedman never understood how the profit- and price mechanism works. He never rose above the level of soap box economics. He will never be accepted in the community of scientists. Politicians still appreciate him as useful idiot.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

* Economics One

Related 'Forget Friedman, forget Keynes' and 'Friedman and the cluelessness of fake scientists' and 'Will economics ever become a science?' and 'Economics: 200+ years of scientific incompetence and fraud' and 'Fact of life: your econ prof is scientifically incompetent'. For details of the big picture see cross-references Incompetence.