April 17, 2016

If you meet the storyteller on the road, kill him

Comment on Blissex on ‘We Are so S---ed. Econ 1-Level Edition’


You write: “I am sympathetic to any model which is less comically weak than the usual ‘neoclassical synthesis’ and other politically motivated propaganda, but here I am more pleased than usual because ...”

Note, that science is NOT about like/dislike but about true/false. If economics is, as it claims for more than 200 years to be, a science, then we have only one worthwhile issue: is standard economics true or false? The answer is that it is provably false according to well-defined scientific criteria.

This has several implications: (i) economists like Krugman or DeLong have not realized that their models are logically/empirically inconsistent, (ii) they pass their defective approaches on to their students, (iii) they throw economic policy proposals into the discussion that have no scientific foundation. From the standpoint of science, economics produces a vast amount of disutility.

Re-read the preceding posts, including your own, and you will realize that economics has come down to a narrative of fraud, deceit, corruption, crime; with the greedy plutocracy, the Fed money wizards, the duped working class, and the evil tax-state as main protagonists.

To recall, this is how the ancient Greeks explained the world before they invented science: Zeus oversaw the universe, assigned the various gods their roles, and had a lot of trouble with other gods, goddesses, and humans. At Prometheus, for example, he was angry for three things: being tricked on sacrifices, stealing fire for man, and for refusing to tell him which of his children would dethrone him. To handle his problems, Zeus regularly fell back to chicanery, force, and violence.#1

Everybody can see the common pattern. Economics is still at the level of myth and storytelling. The difference is, instead of Zeus we now have the Invisible Hand and the machinations of economic agents. People like this tabloid stuff.

To recall: “... it is a central aim of science to come to knowledge of how the world really is, that correspondence between theories and reality is a central aim of science as an epistemic enterprise and crucial to whatever objectivity scientific knowledge enjoys ...” (Suppe, 1977, p. 649)

The task of economics is to come to objective knowledge of how the economy really is. It is the economic system that is the subject matter and NOT the machinations of a more or less realistic homo oeconomicus.

Most economists have not yet realized that economics is NOT a science of human nature/behavior/action — not of individual behavior, not of social behavior, not of rational behavior, not of irrational behavior, not of sincerity, not of corruption. All these issues belong entirely to the realms of psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science, history, criminology, philosophy, etcetera.

Economics is the science of how the economic system works (2014). So, first of all, we have to get rid of all storytellers, more precisely, of Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism, and their proto-scientific garbage — NOT because we do not LIKE these approaches but because they are provably FALSE.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

Kakarot-Handtke, E. (2014). Objective Principles of Economics. SSRN Working Paper Series, 2418851: 1–19. URL
Suppe, F. (1977). Afterword–1977. In F. Suppe (Ed.), The Structure of Scientific Theories, 615–730. Urbana, Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

#1 Wikipedia

Immediately preceding Econ 101 or How to train morons.

For more about storyteller see AXECquery.
For more about narrative see AXECquery.