April 19, 2018

Knowledge is attainable ― even in economics

Comment on Lars Syll on ‘Sometimes we do not know because we cannot know’

Blog-Reference and Blog-Reference and Blog-Reference and Blog-Reference on Apr 21

Lars Syll maintains: “To Keynes, the source of uncertainty was in the nature of the real ― nonergodic ― world. It had to do, not only ― or primarily ― with the epistemological fact of us not knowing the things that today are unknown, but rather with the much deeper and far-reaching ontological fact that there often is no firm basis on which we can form quantifiable probabilities and expectations at all. Sometimes we do not know because we cannot know.”

Yes, this is a well-known fact of life since the Stone-Age. There are three ways to deal with the annoying human condition: (i) to repeat the mantra, I know that I know nothing, ad nauseam, (ii) to senselessly speculate about the unknowable which is the business of mysticism/religion/philosophy/journalism, (iii) to put the gray matter between the ears to work which is the business of science: “The object of reasoning is to find out, from the consideration of what we already know, something else which we do not know.” (Peirce)

So, the growth of knowledge in economics has to start with what we know for sure:
  • the profit theory, false since 200+ years,#1
  • Walrasian microfoundations (in particular equilibrium), are false since 140+ years,#2
  • Keynesian macrofoundations (in particular I=S/IS-LM), are false since 80+ years,
  • Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism and all variations/ derivatives thereof are axiomatically false and materially/formally inconsistent,
  • economists are scientifically incompetent,
  • economics is a cargo cult science,
  • the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences is a fraud,
  • economic policy guidance has no sound scientific foundations since 200+ years,
  • economists are a hazard to their fellow citizens,
  • economics needs a Paradigm Shift,#3
  • Heterodoxy is incapable of performing the Paradigm Shift because heterodox and pluralist economists are just as stupid and corrupt as orthodox economists.#4
So, yes, economists know nothing. But it is false to maintain, as Lars Syll does, that this is an ontological fact.#5, #6 No, it is sheer scientific incompetence. To recall, for science holds: “We must not believe those, who today, with philosophical bearing and deliberative tone, prophesy the fall of culture and accept the ignorabimus. For us, there is no ignorabimus, and in my opinion none whatever in natural science. In opposition to the foolish ignorabimus, our slogan shall be: We must know — we will know!” (Hilbert)*

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke


# 1 The profit theory is false since Adam Smith
# 2 New insight from Meta-Learning: delete economics
# 3 How to get rid of an obsolete theory
#4 Economics: 200+ years of scientific incompetence and fraud
#5 Lars Syll, fake scientist
#6 Cryptoeconomics ― the best of Lars Syll’s spam folder

Related 'Overreach: Economists have their fingers in every pie except real economics' and 'Infantile model bricolage, or, How many economists can dance on a non-existing pinpoint?'. For details of the big picture see cross-references Econ 101/Old Curriculum.

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