October 27, 2015

Proto-scientific garbage

Answer to Paul Schächterle on ‘Economics, concepts, language and the progress of science’


The most curious fact about economics is that it has not taken off the ground since Adam Smith: “... we know little more now about ‘how the economy works,’ or about the modus operandi of the invisible hand than we knew in 1790, after Adam Smith completed the last revision of The Wealth of Nations.” (Clower, 1999, p. 401)

Compare this to the contemporaneous evolution of physics, then economics has in fact fallen even further behind. What obscures this de facto regression is that economists have always taken in edge-of-science tools that have been developed elsewhere. Thus, over more than two centuries now, economists of all schools have been busily engaged in what genuine scientists like Feynman readily identified as cargo cult science (see Wikipedia).

Thus, economics gave the impression of scientific progress while it has not moved one millimeter above the proto-scientific level of Adam Smith. Why? It is obvious, and Merijn Knibbe’s contribution is a pertinent reminder, that economists have never managed to come clear with the fundamental concepts of their trade.

The term unemployment, however, represents only the minuscule tip of the methodological crap mountain that is advertised as the queen of the social sciences. The ultimate reason for the observable self-paralysis of economics is that the representative economist cannot tell the difference between the fundamental concepts of profit and income. It should be clear that without a proper understanding of the concept of profit economics is scientifically dead and what you can see still walking around is a zombie.

Among genuine scientists, all this has not gone unnoticed: “Time and again in the twentieth century, prominent physicists have chastised their economist colleagues in no uncertain terms ...” (Mirowski, 1995, p. 357)

It did not help much. In everyday life, how do we characterize people who are unable to apply coherent language?

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

Clower, R. W. (1999). Post-Keynes Monetary and Financial Theory. Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, 21(3): 399–414. URL
Mirowski, P. (1995). More Heat than Light. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Preceding Incoherence as second nature.

Related 'End of confusion' and 'Misled by ordinary intuition and common sense' and 'The Science-of-Man fallacy.'

At this moment, Oct 27 16:20 CET, I have found out that the term Moronomics has already been invented by someone else, see the Twitter hashtag.