December 27, 2017

Again and again: economists are incompetent scientists

Comment on Dani Rodrik on ‘The Economics Debate, again and again’

Blog-Reference and Blog-Reference

Economics is a failed science. What we actually have is the pluralism of false theories/ models. The four major approaches ― Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism ― are mutually contradictory, axiomatically false, materially/formally inconsistent and all got the foundational concept of the subject matter ― profit ― wrong.#1

The current state of economics is indefensible#2 but economists even praise it as something positive. Pluralism, to recall, is NOT the scientific ideal but merely the original state of ignorance and confusion: “There are always many different opinions and conventions concerning any one problem or subject-matter (such as the gods). This shows that they are not all true. For if they conflict, then at best only one of them can be true. Thus it appears that Parmenides ... was the first to distinguish clearly between truth or reality on the one hand, and convention or conventional opinion (hearsay, plausible myth) on the other ...” (Popper)

Science is committed to truth. The rest of human communication is blather, storytelling, propaganda, and disinformation. Economics never rose above the level of an unplausible myth.

So, no surprise, Dani Rodrik’s first two commands for economists are nothing but methodological nonsense: “1. Economics is a collection of models; cherish their diversity. 2. It’s a model, not the model.”

For 200+ years, economists do not really understand what science is all about: “Research is in fact a continuous discussion of the consistency of theories: formal consistency insofar as the discussion relates to the logical cohesion of what is asserted in joint theories; material consistency insofar as the agreement of observations with theories is concerned.” (Klant) Because of this incurable lack of understanding, economics is what Feynman called a cargo cult science: “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.”

Economists lack true theory. And this is rather bad because: “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) A heap of inconsistent models is no substitute for the true theory.

The lethal arguments against Orthodoxy and traditional Heterodoxy are:
• since Adam Smith/Karl Marx economics is political agenda pushing in the bluff package of science,
• the subject matter of economics is the economic system as a whole, economics is a systems science and NOT a behavioral science,
• orthodox microfoundations, as well as Keynesian macrofoundations, are provably false,
• economics has no sound axiomatic foundations, because of this, the whole analytical superstructure is false, and because of this, economic policy guidance NEVER had sound scientific foundations

Economics is a cargo cult science and economists are fake scientists. Criticism of economics is a waste of time, nothing less than a Paradigm Shift will do.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

#1 Profit and the collective failure of economists
#2 Economics: Defending the indefensible
#3 For details of the big picture see cross-references Failed/Fake scientists


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