September 10, 2020

The tragedy of economics: stupid/corrupt economists

Comment on Lars P. Syll/Tom Hickey on ‘On war and economics’

Lars Syll argues: “Models may help us think through problems. But we should never forget that the formalism we use in our models is not self-evidently transportable to a largely unknown and uncertain reality. The tragedy with mainstream economic theory — and the ‘theorists’ that Clausewitz criticised — is that it thinks that the logic and mathematics used are sufficient for dealing with our real-world problems.”

The tragedy with Lars Syll is that he still thinks that mainstream economics is science. Time to take notice that economics is NOT science and never has been. Economics is proto-scientific garbage for 200+ years. Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism, MMT, Pluralism are mutually contradictory, axiomatically false, and materially/formally inconsistent. Economics is cargo cult science.

What Lars Syll sells as his grand methodological insight is a truism among genuine scientists and well-known among methodologists: “We are very far from being able to predict, even in physics, the precise results of a concrete situation, such as a thunderstorm, or a fire.” (Popper) Or a war, for that matter.

And, guess what, already J. S. Mill was well aware of the methodological situation: “Since, therefore, it is vain to hope that truth can be arrived at, either in Political Economy or in any other department of the social science, while we look at the facts in the concrete, clothed in all the complexity with which nature has surrounded them, and endeavour to elicit a general law by a process of induction from a comparison of details; there remains no other method than the à priori one, or that of ‘abstract speculation’.”

This means nothing more than that figuring out how the economy works requires a certain amount of abstraction. And here is exactly the point where economists in their bottomless methodological incompetence failed. Their blunder is known as Fallacy of Insufficient Abstraction.

The philosopher Tom Hickey hallucinates about science: “Science works quite well and consistently in dealing with physical matters, and fairly well in dealing with biological matters — other than psychology. But the record is not so good with social matters.”

The record is not so good with social matters because so-called social scientists are NOT scientists but stupid/corrupt political agenda pushers. Economists are even too stupid for the elementary algebra that underlies macroeconomics. The fact of the matter is, that economists do not know to this day what profit — the foundational concept of their subject matter — is.#3

To cover the scientific failure of economics with ontological and epistemological wish wash is the personal disgrace of Lars Syll and Tom Hickey within the general scientific disgrace of economics.#4

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke