January 14, 2018

Lars Syll, fake scientist

Comment on Lars Syll on ‘Is economics ― really ― a science?’

Blog-Reference and Blog-Reference

The state of economics is this: theoretical economics (= science) had been hijacked from the very beginning by political economists (= agenda pushers). Political economics has produced NOTHING of scientific value in the last 200+ years.

The 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. As a result of the utter scientific incompetence of the representative economist, what has been achieved is the pluralism of provably false theories.#1

It is rather comical when folks that have produced nothing but proto-scientific garbage talk about scientific methodology. Economic methodology is even more absurd than economics itself. Economic methodologists have not even spotted blatant methodological blunders like petitio principii or inconsistent definitions which are entirely sufficient to refute every approach on purely methodological grounds.#2, #3

The self-appointed methodologist Lars Syll is a case in point. He has one valid point, that is, Walrasian economics in the current incarnation of DSGE is false on all counts. That’s all. He never advanced to the insight that Keynesianism ― the approach he propagates ― is not significantly better. It cannot be said that he understands what science is all about and how this applies to economics.#4

To recall, the objective of economics is the true theory which, in turn, is the humanly best mental representation of reality: “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)

Walrasian economics is materially and formally inconsistent, true but this holds also for Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism ― and this is why economics is a failed science.#5

Lars Syll’s arguments against Walrasian Orthodoxy are rather silly:

• “… manifest inability to foresee the latest financial and economic crises.” To predict the future is, as a matter of principle, not the business of science but of charlatans.#6

• “Neither the economist nor the deciding individual, can fully pre-specify how people will decide when facing uncertainties and ambiguities that are ontological facts of the way the world works.” Economics, properly understood, does NOT deal with the behavior of people but with the behavior of the economic system. Human Nature/motives/behavior/action is the business of Psychology/Sociology and other so-called social sciences. Economics is a systems science.#7

• “There are no universal laws in economics.” There are no universal behavioral laws in economics. This is true but irrelevant because economics is NOT a science of behavior but a systems science. To be sure, there are systemic laws but economists have not figured them out because they wasted 200+ years with folk psychology, i.e. with waffling about rationality, selfishness, utility maximization, rational expectations, or uncertainty.

• “We have to build our models on assumptions that are not so blatantly in contradiction to reality.” Trivially true, but if Lars Syll knows how to do it why don’t he apply his superior methodology and show the results? As J. S. Mill told the slyboots who never rose above the level of vacuous methodological blather “Doubtless, the most effectual mode of showing how the sciences of Ethics and Politics may be constructed, would be to construct them …”

At some point, though, orthodox and heterodox incompetence turns into self-deception and deception of the general public. This point is reached with the false claim that economics is a science as expressed in the title “Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel”.

At present, economics is not a science but what Feynman called a cargo cult science. Make no mistake, BOTH orthodox AND heterodox economics is an integral part of the fake. One of the best examples is the scientific failure and methodological loudspeaker Lars Syll.#8

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

#1 Economics: a science without scientists
#2 Economics, methodology, morals ― a creepy freak-show
#3 Axiomatized nonentities and the failure of methodologists
#4 The irrelevance of economics
#5 Economists, stupid or corrupt or both?
#6 Science does NOT predict the future
#7 If it isn’t macro-axiomatized, it isn’t economics
#8 Nothing to choose between Orthodoxy and traditional Heterodoxy

Related 'Shocking: methodology is a tricky business' and 'Addendum to ‘Musings on Whether We Consciously Know More or Less than What Is in Our Models’ and 'Economics is NOT a misunderstanding but cargo cultic crap' and 'No trade-off, Kant said' and 'Methodological wrong-way drivers' and 'Refutation of Asad Zaman’s heterodox methodology: all arguments you ever need' and 'Why does Heterodoxy not abolish the fake Nobel?'. For details of the big picture see cross-references Failed/Fake scientists and cross-references Scientific Incompetence.


NOTE on Lars Syll’s ‘Neoclassical economics is great — if it wasn’t for all the caveats!’ on Jan 15 and Blog-Reference LPS

Lars Syll is a one-trick pony. The sum of his insight is that Neoclassical economics is a failure and Keynesianism is superior because its core assumption is ontological uncertainty which reduces economic knowledge ultimately to I know that I know nothing and anything goes, or, as Keynes put it, to “nothing is clear and everything is possible.”

Lars Syll never understood that science is not about unknown and unknowable unknowns but about certain knowledge. His hero is not Archimedes who figured out the Law of the Lever or Euclid who figured out that a2+b2= c2 but the waffling philosopher Socrates with his shallow wisdom and false humbleness of I know that I know nothing ― which, of course, is true of philosophers and heterodox economists.

For details see:
► Lars Syll, fake scientist
► Fact of life: your econ prof is scientifically incompetent
► Say hello to Lars Syll, Keynes’ last parrot
► Don Lars and the axiomatic windmill
► Economics — the fly that cannot see the glass
► Heterodoxy, too, is proto-scientific garbage
► Throw them out! Orthodox and heterodox economists are unfit for science

REPLY to Kaivey on Jan 16

You say “Hi Egmont, what do you think of Single Payer and Britain’s National Health Service? … Do you think the government should renationalise the railways, and highly regulate or renationalise the energy industries?”

I think this is for the Legitimate Sovereign to decide. There is the political realm and the scientific realm and the economist qua scientist must uphold the strict separation of politics and science. This point has been made abundantly clear by J. S. 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.”#1

For non-economists, the most important thing to realize is that theoretical economics (= science) had been hijacked from the very beginning by political economists (= agenda pushers). Political economics has produced NOTHING of scientific value in the last 200+ years. This applies also to MMT. MMT policy proposals have no sound scientific foundation.#2

I have no truck with the political program of MMT. National Health, clearly, is a matter for the UK population to discuss and to decide and no economist has any mandate to interfere in the political process. Political economists like Krugman, Varoufakis, or Kelton have not to be praised for taking political sides but condemned for corrupting science.

The issue with MMT is not about good/bad politics but about true/false economic theory. MMTers do either not understand how the monetary economy works or they deceive their fellow citizens about the fact that Public Deficit = Private Profit and that, therefore, MMT policy ultimately benefits the one-percenters, contrary to the political claim that MMT is the champion of the ninety-nine-percenters.#4

The political economist = fake scientist is one of the most disgusting creeps in the Circus Maximus.

#1 The end of political economics
#2 MMT: The one deadly error/fraud of Warren Mosler
#3 MMT = proto-scientific garbage + deception of the 99-percenters
#4 MMT and grassroots movements

For more about Lars Syll see AXECquery.