October 2, 2015

Clueless at the dead spot

Comment on Thornton Hall on ‘Deductivism — the original sin of ‘modern’ economics’


There can be no disagreement about the plain fact that standard economics as codified in peer-reviewed texts is a failed approach. This leaves every serious student of economics with the question of how to deal with the mess. Orthodoxy frankly admits its weaknesses and is open to improvements — within the given paradigm, that is. And this is the crux. Corrections at the margin are not sufficient when the paradigm itself is methodologically defective.

“There is another alternative: to formulate a completely new research program and conceptual approach. As we have seen, this is often spoken of, but there is still no indication of what it might mean.” (Ingrao et al, 1990, p. 362)

From the perspective of Heterodoxy, the situation is this: “... there is more agreement on the defects of orthodox theory than there is on what theory is to replace it: but all agreed that the point of the criticism is to clear the ground for construction.” (Nell, 1980, p. 1)

Or, as Keynes famously summed up the most devastating empirical refutation ever: “... there is no remedy except ... to work out a non-Euclidean geometry. Something similar is required to-day in economics. (Keynes, 1973, p. 16)

Yet, the inevitable Paradigm Shift has not happened until this very day. Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy consist of a heap of models that do not satisfy the scientific criteria of formal and material consistency.

Economics is still at the proto-scientific level. The last thing needed is methodological shoptalk. For Heterodoxy there is only one way to demonstrate superiority: “Doubtless, the most effectual mode of showing how the sciences ... may be constructed, would be to construct them ...” (J. S. Mill, 2006, p. 834)#1

Everything else is a continuation of the silly filibuster with which economists have much too long degraded their discipline.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

Ingrao, B., and Israel, G. (1990). The Invisible Hand. Economic Equilibrium in the History of Science. Cambridge, London: MIT Press.
Keynes, J. M. (1973). The General Theory of Employment Interest and Money. The Collected Writings of John Maynard Keynes Vol. VII. London, Basingstoke: Macmillan.
Mill, J. S. (2006). A System of Logic Ratiocinative and Inductive. Being a Connected View of the Principles of Evidence and the Methods of Scientific Investigation, Vol. 8 of Collected Works of John Stuart Mill. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund.
Nell, E. J. (1980). Growth, Profits, and Property, chapter Cracks in the Neoclassical Mirror: On the Break-Up of a Vision, 1–16. Cambridge, New York, Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.

#1 For a start see cross-references New Curriculum

Preceding How Orthodoxy buffaloed Heterodoxy