October 10, 2016

Swedish economists — what’s that?

Comment on Lars Syll on ‘Paul Romer — favourite candidate for ‘Nobel prize’ 2016 ’

Blog-Reference and Blog-Reference on Oct 10 adapted to context

Lars Syll reports from Malmö: “Among Swedish economists, Paul Romer is the favorite candidate for receiving the ‘Nobel Prize’ in economics 2016. Let’s hope the prediction turns out right this time.” Avner Offer, on the other hand, criticizes in the Guardian that the prize is not social democratic enough.

Have Swedish economists not realized until now that economics is NOT a science? Have they not realized that the full title of the prize is “Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel”. Have they not realized that there is a contradiction?

No, of course not. Swedish economists like their colleagues elsewhere have no idea what science is all about. They occasionally criticize the economics Nobel, but for the wrong reason. The wrong reason is that the prize has been awarded to someone who does not share one’s own political belief. Science, though, cannot be judged by political criteria but only by the criteria true/false which are well-defined by material and formal consistency.

The problem is this: economics is not a science but what Feynman famously called a cargo cult science. This is a provable fact and this is what has to be communicated to the general public. It is NOT decisive which of the four main sects (Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism) gets the prize, because NEITHER satisfies scientific standards. In methodological terms, all four approaches are axiomatically false and therefore beyond repair.

The Bank of Sweden is legitimized to award prizes to whomever it wants and to push any political agenda it wants. The Bank, though, is NOT legitimized to declare economics as science well knowing that economics has not lived up to scientific standards since the founding fathers.

In order not to mislead the general public and in compliance with the first principle of science — which is truth — the Bank of Sweden is obliged to delete the word Sciences from its prize. It is the task of Swedish economists, in particular, to see to it that this happens without further delay.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke