April 5, 2018

Economics has arrived at the bottom of the proto-scientific shithole

Comment on Simon Wren-Lewis on ‘Brexit and Corbyn: how our media fails the people’


There are political economics and theoretical economics. The main differences are: (i) The goal of political economics is to successfully push an agenda, and the goal of theoretical economics is to successfully explain how the actual economy works. (ii) In political economics anything goes; in theoretical economics, the scientific standards of material and formal consistency are observed.

Economics claims to be a science but is NOT. Theoretical economics (= science) had been hijacked from the very beginning by political economists (= agenda pushers).

The true economic theory tells one how the economic system works. The economist needs the true theory, i.e. the humanly best mental representation of reality: “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 a true theory but they have opinions for all seasons. Actually, economists have long ago given up science and turned to the shaping of public opinion.

These, for example, are the latest posts of Simon Wren-Lewis
• Brexit and Corbyn: how our media fails the people,
• The media and Attitudes to Austerity,
• Is Trump about race and Brexit about culture?
• Jeremy Corbyn cannot end Brexit,
• The Output Gap is no longer a sufficient statistic for inflationary pressure,
• Beliefs about Brexit,
• A road to right-wing authoritarian government.

Six of the seven posts are about how corrupt UK media distort reality, and only one post is about economics proper. It is a fair summary to say that Simon Wren-Lewis is primarily in the PR/propaganda/journalism business and only superficially engaged in science.

Simon Wren-Lewis’ expertise consists of educated common sense and academic majority opinion but lacks sound scientific foundations because he has not realized that standard economics in its current incarnation as DSGE is proto-scientific garbage.

The vast majority of economists have entirely lost any scientific instincts, which would tell them to keep science and politics strictly apart,#1 and have joined the crowd of clowns and useful idiots in the political Circus Maximus.

Everyone can know from history that science cannot improve politics but that politics inescapably corrupts science, or as Schumpeter put it: “The first thing a man will do for his ideals is lie.” Much more so, if he has no ideals.

Economics was captured 200+ years ago by political agenda pushers and this is why it has become the most embarrassing failure in the history of modern science.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

#1 “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.” (J. S. Mill)

Related 'Orthodoxy vs. Heterodoxy: the squabbling of quacks' and 'Cranks? What cranks? That’s economics!' and 'MMT: Academic snake oil for the people'. For details of the big picture see cross-references 'Failed/Fake Scientists.