July 18, 2017

On econblogosphere bias

Comment on Chris Dillow on ‘On BBC bias’

Blog-Reference and Blog-Reference

Chris Dillow is concerned: “One fact tells us this ― that the public are horribly wrong about many basic facts. Of course, this isn’t wholly or even mainly the BBC’s fault. But such massive ignorance should alert us to the possibility that the country’s most powerful broadcaster isn’t fulfilling its purpose of informing its viewers and listeners.”

That the public is horribly wrong about many basic economic facts, though, is mainly the fault of economists. The first fact where the public is horribly wrong is to think that economics is a science. Economists communicate this every year to the public with immense fanfare with the “Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel”.

The fact is that there is no such thing as ‘Economic Sciences’. Theoretical economics consists of the major approaches ― Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism ― which are mutually contradictory, axiomatically false, materially/formally inconsistent, and which got the foundational economic concept profit wrong. What we actually have is the pluralism of provably false theories ― a rummage table where everybody can grab a convenient opinion.

Theoretical economics is scientifically unacceptable. And political economics is just this for 200+ years: politics. This is faithfully reflected in the econblogosphere. Since the founding fathers, economists violate the principle of the separation of science and politics. Economics is what Feynman famously called a cargo cult science and neither right-wing nor left-wing economic policy guidance has a sound scientific foundation since Adam Smith/ Karl Marx.

So, is the economics blogosphere fulfilling its purpose of informing the general public about economic matters? Or is it full of proto-scientific crap, incompetent blather, disinformation? Are all comments published as they come or are some made to vanish into nirvana? Are some threads edited ex-post? Does attention and reputation management happen? Is the BBC biased? You bet. Is the econblogosphere biased? You bet. Does Chris Dillow make comments disappear?#1

The paradox of communication is: the information you get is not the one you need, and the information you need is not the one you get. It is much like Sherlock Holmes’ ‘curious incident of the dog in the night-time’.#2

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

#1 Zero-sum capitalism
#2 Economics, Plato’s Cave and the Silver Blaze Case

Related 'Needed: The Worst of the Worst of economics blogs'. For details of the big picture see cross-references Political Economics.