CAMREC: Turing tests?

From: the Campaign for Real Economics (
Date: Fri Jul 09 1999 - 15:19:16 BST

Date: Fri, 09 Jul 1999 15:19:16 +0100
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To: bogus
From: (the Campaign for Real Economics)
Subject: CAMREC: Turing tests?
In-Reply-To: <CAMREC: Could we propose an 'Economic Turing Test'?>

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To: CAMREC list members <>
From: the Campaign for Real Economics <>
Date: Fri, 09 Jul 1999 15:19:16 +0100
Subject: CAMREC: Turing tests?

The proposal for an economic Turing test (ETT) is an an interesting
approach to undermining conventional economics, but I wonder if it would
be a diversion from the more important objective of devising approaches
to economic analysis that would be more relevant to policy analysis.

An alternative (though it could happen in parallel with the ETT) would
be to identify a small number of economic problems with important policy
implications that have either been ignored by the economics profession
or have been badly handled. Perhaps a problem arising in the emerging
market economies or a comparison of different regimes with apparently
different experiences of economic success -- say Hungary or Poland and
the Russian Federation. Another problem might relate to issues
important in (say) Sub-Saharan Africa. Another might relate to the
functioning of real markets since economists -- bizarrely -- reject
institutionally realistic representations of markets as "anecdotal".
Another old-fashioned question that has been assumed away by economists
is the limits on firm size or growth rates. Transactions economists
fudge the issue by appealling to some Heaven-sent menu of organizational
arrangements for the firm.

My preference would be for the development of analyses that start with
the problem. Agent representations should be appropriate to the problem
rather than specifying problems so that they can be addressed with
preconceived agent representations (such as "rational" optimizing

Scott Moss
Professor of Social Simulation
Centre for Policy Modelling
Manchester Metropolitan University
Aytoun Building
Manchester M1 3GH

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