May 14, 2019

Economists’ silly kindergarten games

Comment on Barkley Rosser on ‘Robert J. Samuelson Denounces Economists’


Barkley Rosser refers to a Washington Post article: “However, today he [Robert Samuelson] has written on ‘What economists don’t know,’ which comes across as a pretty big spanking for economists, among whom he does not make much differentiation. We are all pretty much as ignorant as each other and just plain not willing to admit it, given that we are also all (actually here he admits not all) trying to ‘gain and retain political relevance and power’.” and “Indeed, we like to think that we have exposed this Establishment for its high crimes and misdemeanors, at least on a few occasions, even if we ourselves sometimes make erroneous remarks as well on various matters (and, of course, we get visited by good old Egmont from time to time, whose denunciations of all economists except for himself and maybe one or two others makes Samuelson’s complaints look like high praise).”

Under the headline ‘What economists don’t know’, Robert Samuelson criticizes the profession for bad forecasting performance. This, indeed, is a silly game that economists play with great enthusiasm in order to entertain their audience. This only proves that economists do not understand what science is all about. Genuine scientists do not participate in the prediction game because they know “The future is unpredictable”. (Feynman) Prophesy, the forerunner of pseudo-scientific forecasting, is known since time immemorial to be a tool of social programming/manipulation/psycho-terror.

Scientific ‘prediction’ does not predict the future but the observable empirical consequence of a theory.#1, #2, #3 If successful, the theory is corroborated, otherwise, it is refuted. The bottom line of the prediction brouhaha is: scientists do not predict the future, only charlatans do, and only morons take them seriously.

The second point to note is that Egmont does NOT denunciate economists but refutes their approaches. More specifically, he proves that Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism, MMT is axiomatically false, materially/formally inconsistent, mutually contradictory and that all approaches get the foundational concept of the subject matter ― profit ― wrong. In brief, it is demonstrably true that economics is proto-scientific garbage and that economists are scientifically incompetent.#4, #5, #6 This includes, of course, the political agenda pushers Robert Samuelson and Barkley Rosser.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

#1 Scientists do not predict
#2 Prediction does not work? Try retrodiction first
#3 Predictably confused
#4 Economists: scientists or political clowns?
#5 Economics a science? Surely you are joking, Mr. Cochrane
#6 Economics: The greatest scientific fraud in modern times

Related 'Economics debate ― just another variant of hardcore wrestling' and 'Economics ― nothing but claptrap, twaddle, drivel, slip-slop, wish-wash, waffle, and proto-scientific garbage' and 'Economics: ‘a tale told by an idiot ... signifying nothing’'.

ADDENDUM on May 16

Barkley Rosser is pleased about Robert Samuelson’s civility: “Also, it must be admitted that RJS does say complimentary things about most economists he deals with as being ‘extremely smart’ and ‘public spirited’ and ‘generous with their time,’ albeit ‘with a few exceptions’.”

Another silly kindergarten game economists play is the peer-recommendation/mutual-hype/self-congratulation game. Reality is different: economists are either stupid or corrupt or both. For details see There is NO such thing as “smart, honest, honorable economists”.

REPLY to Barkley Rosser on May 16

You ask: “Does this absolute statement you make that there are ‘no’ smart or honest or honorable economists apply to you as well? Or are you not an economist?”

When I deal with how the economy works and prove that Keynes’ macroeconomic proposition I=S is false because Keynes got macroeconomic profit wrong, I am an economist. When I deal with how the economics profession works I am a sociologist.

You are right in pointing out that absolute statements may lead to paradoxes. An issue that has been dealt with under the heading of auto-reference by Luhmann and recursion/self-reference by Hofstadter and Russel’s Paradox by mathematicians.#1 Not to forget this ‘extremely smart’ Crete philosopher Epimenides. The finer points of logic, though, are a moot point among the confused confusers of economics.

To this day, both the microfoundations and macrofoundations of economics are provably false but economists have not realized it. So, Robert Samuelson’s self-referential characterization of economists as ‘extremely smart’ and ‘public spirited’ and ‘generous with their time’ only confirms what is long known, i.e. that economists are not scientists but stand-up comedians in the political Circus Maximus who senselessly repeat their ridiculous prophesy stunts.

If Robert Samuelson (and the rest of his ilk including Barkley Rosser) is an economist I am NOT an economist and vice versa. There is nothing paradoxical here.

#1 “In the foundations of mathematics, Russell’s paradox (also known as Russell’s antinomy), discovered by Bertrand Russell in 1901, showed that some attempted formalizations of the naïve set theory created by Georg Cantor led to a contradiction. The same paradox had been discovered in 1899 by Ernst Zermelo but he did not publish the idea, which remained known only to David Hilbert, Edmund Husserl, and other members of the University of Göttingen.” (Wikipedia)

REPLY to Barkley Rosser on May 17

You proudly present your ancestors: “As a matter of fact this is a family specialty, with me writing papers on these, such as ‘On the Foundations of Mathematical Economics’ that appeared a few years ago in New Mathematics and Natural Computation, with a couple more in the publication pipeline (with yours probably still empty I gather).”

Obviously, you still have not realized that the foundations of mathematical economics are false. See Barzilai and the crumbling of the unsafe citadel. See, in particular, the Open Letter to the President of the American Economic Association.

For the proof that people who call themselves economists are too stupid for the elementary mathematics that underlies macroeconomics see #DrainTheScientificSwamp.

There is political economics and theoretical economics. Political economists are agenda pushers, theoretical economists are scientists. Political economists are fake scientists and have to be expelled from economics. See Who is really a scientist?

There is no contradiction. You are a P-economist and I am a T-economist. It is absolutely correct to say that an [T-] economist is NOT an [P-] economist and vice versa. It sounds only paradoxical for people who have not realized that economics has been captured long ago by useful political idiots and is a cargo cult science since Adam Smith/Karl Marx.

REPLY to Barkley Rosser on May 18

Why don’t you simply read the post There is NO such thing as “smart, honest, honorable economists”?

Excerpt: The fact of the matter is that the four major approaches ― Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism ― are mutually contradictory, axiomatically false, materially/formally inconsistent and all got the pivotal concept of the subject matter ― profit ― wrong.

For 200+ years now, economists do not know what profit is. Because of this foundational blunder, economics is scientifically worthless. And because of this, economic policy guidance NEVER had sound scientific foundations. And because of this, economists are the major cause of economic crises. By default, every economic mess is econogenic unless proven otherwise.

Economics is for 200+ years at the proto-scientific level. What is long overdue is a Paradigm Shift. This cannot happen with the given personage. Economists’ modus operandi is to simply ignore scientific standards and to imperturbably recycle falsified theories: “In economics we should strive to proceed, wherever we can, exactly according to the standards of the other, more advanced, sciences, where it is not possible, once an issue has been decided, to continue to write about it as if nothing had happened.” (Morgenstern)

Krugman, for example, who is on the list of “smart, honest, honorable economists” has not realized to this day that Keynes’ I=S is false for 80+ years and still recommends IS-LM as a useful model.

Economists are not smart because they have not figured out to this day what profit is and how the monetary economy works. They are neither honest nor honorable because what they are doing for 200+ years now is NOT science but political agenda pushing.