November 3, 2016

Scientific suicide in the revolving door

Comment on Barkley Rosser on ‘The Biggest Disjuncture Ever Between Public Opinion And Professional Economists?’


The founding fathers called themselves Political Economists. Now, take Adam Smith and Isaac Newton as reference points. How much knowledge did science produce and how much did political economics produce in roughly 200 years? The plain fact is that neither orthodox nor heterodox economists have produced much, if anything, of scientific value.

Jevons renamed Political Economy to Economics. But economists never institutionalized the proper separation of politics and science and never really got out of politics. There is still political economics (= agenda-pushing) and theoretical economics (= science) and the former dominates the latter. Where there should be a Chinese Wall is a fast-rotating revolving door.

It does not matter whether an economist’s agenda is more rightist or more leftist. Agenda pushing AS SUCH is incompatible with science. Barkley Rosser could know this from John Stuart Mill: “A scientific observer or reasoner, merely as such, is not an adviser for practice. His part is only to show that certain consequences follow from certain causes, and that to obtain certain ends, certain means are the most effectual. Whether the ends themselves are such as ought to be pursued, and if so, in what cases and to how great a length, it is no part of his business as a cultivator of science to decide, and science alone will never qualify him for the decision.”

Scientific ethics forbids economists to dabble in politics. This is the one thing. The other thing is that economists have NOTHING of scientific value to add to the discussion and the political process: “In order to tell the politicians and practitioners something about causes and best means, the economist needs the true theory or else he has not much more to offer than educated common sense or his personal opinion.” (Stigum, 1991)

Now, it is obvious that economists do NOT have the true theory. There are the major approaches Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism and ALL are provably false. Because of this, economic policy advice has NO sound scientific foundations. Just the contrary, logically/materially inconsistent economic theory is the ultimate cause of unemployment, depression, deflation, and stagnation. Economists are the loose canons of politics.

Those economists who participated actively in the 2016 election campaign contributed to the general corruption of both state and science. It is time now to throw ALL political economists out of the scientific community.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

Related 'How economists murdered the economy and got away with it'.