February 22, 2019

Economics as a cover for agenda-pushing

Comment on Simon Wren-Lewis on ‘The new party: lessons the Labour leadership and its supporters failed to learn’


“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)

We know since the Ancient Greeks what the criteria of scientific truth are “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)

Economists lack the true theory to this day. 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.

Because they lack the true theory, economists have nothing to offer but educated common sense and their personal opinion. Economic policy guidance NEVER had sound scientific foundations.#1

However, those who are not fit for science may still find employment in the political Circus Maximus as op-eder, propagandist, entertainer, agenda pusher, and useful idiot. This would not be a problem at all, of course, if economists would not claim to do science. They don’t, they just put their square academic cap on and sell their right- or left-wing stuff in the bluff package of science. Fact is that political economics has zero scientific content.#2

Simon Wren-Lewis is a case in point. He has not realized to this day that both orthodox and heterodox economics is proto-scientific garbage but exhausts himself (i) with telling his audience that the BBC and the mainstream press deceive the people about Brexit, and (ii), with undermining the current Labour leadership.

These are Simon Wren-Lewis’ lessons
  • “With its Brexit policy the leadership, and more particularly the cabal around Corbyn himself, failed to do this job.”
  • “For Corbyn to pledge that members will make party policy, and then ignore the view of the overwhelming majority on the most critical issue of the day, just reeks of hypocrisy.”
  • “Corbyn is not a natural manager of a large team, and that makes it all the more important that Labour policies keep the majority of MPs and members on board.”
  • “It is almost certainly Corbyn’s biggest mistake since he became Labour leader.”

Obviously, the lessons Simon Wren-Lewis teaches have zero scientific content. But then, had Oxford economics ever any? The fact is that economists have messed up Profit Theory for 200+ years, Microfoundations for 150+ years, Macrofoundations for 80+ years, and the application of elementary logic/mathematics since the founding fathers.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

#1 Opinion, conversation, interpretation, blather: the economist’s major immunizing stratagems
#2 For details of the big picture see cross-references Political Economics/Stupidity/Corruption.

Related 'Thinking about economic policy for future PM Corbyn' and 'How Bill Mitchell stalks Jeremy Corbyn' and 'MMT and grassroots movements' and 'Oxford economics — still at the proto-scientific level' and 'Economists ― medics or barber-surgeons?' and 'Educating economists? Yes, but where is the scientific stuff?' and 'The apocalypse of stupidity' and 'Circus Maximus: Economics as entertainment, personality gossip, virtue signaling, and lifestyle promotion' and 'The economist as stand-up comedian' and 'Legitimacy lost' and 'The GDP-death-blow for the economics profession'.