March 15, 2017

Economics between cargo cult, farce, and fraud

Comment on Jason Smith on ‘How do you know if you’re researching in bad faith?’


Economists claim to do science but obviously lack any deeper understanding. Feynman put it thus: “They’re doing everything right. The form is perfect. ... But it doesn’t work. ... So I call these things cargo cult science because they follow all the apparent precepts and forms of scientific investigation, but they’re missing something essential.”#1

What is missing is a proper understanding of what science is all about. The goal of theoretical economics is the true theory: “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)

Economists do not have the true theory. The original methodological blunder of economics is given with the Walrasian microfoundations: “HC1 economic agents have preferences over outcomes; HC2 agents individually optimize subject to constraints; HC3 agent choice is manifest in interrelated markets; HC4 agents have full relevant knowledge; HC5 observable outcomes are coordinated, and must be discussed with reference to equilibrium states.” (Weintraub)

Methodologically, these premises are forever unacceptable. It should be pretty obvious that the Walrasian axiom set contains THREE NONENTITIES: (i) constrained optimization HC2, (ii) rational expectations HC4, (iii) equilibrium HC5. Every model that contains a NONENTITY is a priori false. Its proper place is the wastebasket.

Because it is built on vacuous axioms, economics is a cargo cult science for 150+ years. As far as economists have not realized this, economics is a farce. As far as economists have realized it but are telling the general public that they are doing science economics is a fraud.

Jason Smith’s own blog is simply a bad cargo cultic joke.#2

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

#1 See Cargo cult science on Wikipedia see also Tavares The Farce That Is Economics: Richard Feynman On The Social Sciences
#2 See thread The key to macro and Keen’s debt-employment model

Related 'Economists: Incompetent? Stupid? Corrupt?' and 'Failed economics: The losers’ long list of lame excuses' and 'Needed: The Worst of the Worst of economics blogs' and 'Needed: the Top Ten of substandard economics blogs' and 'Gossip economics' and 'Media-fake-farce-fraud-storytelling-macro' and 'Economists: scientists or political clowns?' and 'There is NO such thing as an economic expert' and 'The economist as stand-up comedian' and 'The end of political economics' and 'Scientists and science actors' and 'The real problem with the economics Nobel' and 'Economics is not a science, not a religion, but proto-scientific garbage'.

REPLY to MRW on Mar 16

You say: “[Paul Davidson] Gave a one-hour lunch talk to econ students at the Univ of Chicago and kept muttering under his breath how uneducated they were.”

Heterodox economists are always right telling the students at the Univ of Chicago that they are proto-scientific morons. But the problem of heterodox economists in general and Paul Davidson, in particular, is that Post Keynesianism, too, is axiomatically false.#1

The point to grasp is that economics needs a Paradigm Shift from false Walrasian microfoundations and false Keynesian macrofoundations to true macrofoundations.#2

#1 Why Post Keynesianism Is Not Yet a Science
#2 If it isn’t macro-axiomatized, it isn’t economics