February 3, 2016

What comes next?

Comment on Asad Zaman on ‘Theories of Knowledge’


Asad Zaman proposes “INSTEAD of explaining what these errors are and trying to fix them, I would like to stand back from the fray and try to examine what is going on from a distance. WHAT makes certain theories popular? WHY do most people come to believe in theories? WHAT causes changes in these beliefs?”

As I understand it, this is what the historians of economic thought have always done, e.g. (Mirowski et al., 2009). My problem with this proposal is that it implies a new understanding of Heterodoxy. The initial understanding has been: Orthodoxy is a failed approach; in order to solve urgent real-world economic problems New Thinking and a New Paradigm is required.

According to this understanding, Heterodoxy is the active player who challenges and replaces Orthodoxy and not the passive bystander who observes how the inescapable paradigm shift unfolds.

Asad Zaman concludes “I would just like to shift the focus of our discussion from critiques of neoclassical theories to the relationship between real world events, political power of various groups, and the theories which emerge as a consequence of the interaction between these.”

Summarizing my contributions to this blog#1 I would also like to shift the focus away from dead horse beating. In contradistinction to Asad Zaman, I propose to focus on the development of a superior alternative to the degenerate research program of Orthodoxy and to fully replace the logically and empirically inconsistent standard economics in academic and non-academic education with the logically and empirically consistent new heterodox paradigm.

Science is about true/false and because of this, the unfriendly but remarkably stable coexistence of provably false theories (Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism) is not an option. To further observe inconclusive skirmishes between incompetent scientists cannot — in my view — yield many new and interesting insights. Better to refer the whole lot without further delay to the deeply depressing history of intellectual aberration a.k.a. history of economic thought.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

Mirowski, P., and Plehwe, D. (2009). The Road From Mont Pelerin. The Making of the Neoliberal Thought Collective. Cambridge, London: Harvard University Press.

#1 For an overview see cross-references