A closer look at the history of economic thought reveals that there are TWO economixes: political economics and theoretical economics. The main differences are: (i) The goal of political economics is to successfully push an agenda, 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.
The historical fact 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: Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism, MMT are mutually contradictory, axiomatically false, and materially/formally inconsistent. Political economists are NOT scientists but clowns/useful idiots in the political Circus Maximus.#1, #2, #3
Economics claims to be science and, by consequence, the economist has to uphold scientific standards. Scientific standards are well-defined since antiquity: “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)
Scientific knowledge is embodied in the true theory. The true theory is the humanly best mental representation of reality. This defines the economist’s task: “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)
This translates into the methodological basics: logical consistency is secured by applying the axiomatic-deductive method and empirical consistency is secured by applying state-of-art econometric testing.
So, there are the hard rocks of true or false and there is the vast swamp between them. The swamp is where stupid/corrupt political economists thrive since Adam Smith/Karl Marx. Swampiness is what Popper called an immunizing stratagem because: “Another thing I must point out is that you cannot prove a vague theory wrong.” (Feynman)#4 It is, therefore, quite understandable that the political economist is mainly occupied with producing a methodological smoke screen which consists of vague concepts, anything-goes, pluralism of false theories, alleged complexity, ontological uncertainty, unreliable data, the faux humility of ‘I know that I know nothing’, and the post-modern replacement of true theory by storytelling.#5
The stupid/corrupt political agenda pushers try to defend the swamp where “nothing is clear and everything is possible” (Keynes) by arguing that the axiomatic-deductive method and state-of-art testing does not work in economics and by denouncing the adherence to the scientific method as “physics envy” and by intimating that physics is just as crappy as the so-called social sciences, i.e. “physics too is really about arbitrary and fickle social consensus”. (R. S. Mitchell)
The popular swampie arguments are
• “Economics is a social science where the behaviour of decision makers is not governed purely by economic considerations but also by social and psychological factors, which are not amenable to econometric testing. This is why no economic theory holds everywhere all the time.” (Moosa)
• “And just as Moosa, Keynes certainly did not misunderstand the crucial issues at stake in his critique of econometrics. Quite the contrary. He knew them all too well ― and was not satisfied with the validity and philosophical underpinnings of the assumptions made for applying its methods.” (Syll)
• “Tinbergen’s model assumes that all relevant factors are measurable. Keynes questions if it is possible to adequately quantify and measure things like expectations and political and psychological factors. And more than anything, he questioned ― both on epistemological and ontological grounds ― that it was always and everywhere possible to measure real-world uncertainty with the help of probabilistic risk measures.” (Syll)
• “In his critique of Tinbergen, Keynes points us to the fundamental logical, epistemological and ontological problems of applying statistical methods to a basically unpredictable, uncertain, complex, unstable, interdependent, and ever-changing social reality.” (Syll)
The lethal blunders of Lars Syll/Imad Moosa are: (i) economics is NOT a social science but a systems science, and (ii), Keynes was a political agenda pusher and cannot by any stretch of the imagination be taken seriously as a scientist.#6
Keynes famously stated in the General Theory: “Income = value of output = consumption + investment. Saving = income − consumption. Therefore saving = investment.” (p. 63) This two-liner is conceptually and logically defective because Keynes never came to grips with profit. “His Collected Writings show that he wrestled to solve the Profit Puzzle up till the semi-final versions of his GT but in the end he gave up and discarded the draft chapter dealing with it.” (Tómasson et al.)
Let this sink in, the economist Keynes NEVER understood profit, i.e. the fundamental concept of economics. Because he was too stupid for the elementary mathematics that underlies macroeconomics the whole of Keynesian theory and methodology is proto-scientific garbage. Instead of I=S, Q≡I−S is true with Q as macroeconomic profit (formal summary on Wikimedia AXEC143d).
So, Keynes got it wrong 80+ years ago but Lars Syll/Imad Moosa have not figured it out to this day and instead blather about methodology. That’s how the swampies of political economics have been for 200+ years now: stupid or corrupt or both. Lars Syll is both.#7
All political economists have to be expelled from the sciences. This applies also to Lars Syll’s Sweden where fake scientists/political agenda pushers are to this day rewarded with the “Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel”. What a farce: economists are the swampies that have in 200+ years not figured out what profit is. Neither Orthodoxy nor traditional Heterodoxy has any scientific content.
#1 Economics: failure, fake, fraud
#2 Economics: A science without scientists
#3 Economics: The greatest scientific hoax in modern times
#4 Getting out of the economics swamp
#5 The economist as storyteller
#6 Marshall and the Cambridge School of plain economic gibberish
#7 For the full-spectrum refutation of Lars Syll see the label zLPS on AXEC
Related 'How to spot economics trolls' and 'How incompetent are economic methodologists? Very!' and 'Economics: Math is NOT the problem, scientific incompetence is'. For details of the big picture see cross-references Political Economics/Stupidity/Corruption and cross-references Methodology and cross-references Math/Mathiness.
For more about Lars Syll see AXECquery.