Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id LAA27518 (8.6.9/5.3[ref email@example.com] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from firstname.lastname@example.org); Thu, 19 Oct 2000 11:23:38 +0100 Message-Id: <200010191023.LAA27518@alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk> Errors-To: email@example.com Precedence: bulk Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com To: CAMREC list members <firstname.lastname@example.org> From: the Campaign for Real Economics <email@example.com> Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2000 11:25:08 +0100 Subject: Re: CAMREC: The 'no supply-demand curve' sign
the Campaign for Real Economics wrote:
> I'm sitting here imaging taking an introductory economics class. When the
> teacher puts the first supply/demand curve up, I get up and point out that
> no one uses such a curve to make any decisions and no empirical data
> justifies the curve. The teacher then replies, 'you are right, but this is
> the best we can do for an approximation.' I've never known how to get past
> that reply.
I raise issues of what constitutes good science and what constitutes bad
science. Bad science makes unjustified and unjustifiable claims about its
subject. Economics is bad science because formal properties of its core theory
ensure that the assumptions of the theory cannot be validated and there is no
evidence that its implications (or predictions) can be validated.
Consequently, economics tells us nothing about it purported target systems.
> As I recollect, that is what my economics teacher told me 32 years ago when
> I asked that question at age 17. I doubt the answer has changed, but it
> has been a long time. What passes for an adequate justification for simple
> supply/demand curves these days?
I think the first few steps are asserted to be plausible (higher prices induce
people to consume less and sellers to offer more). The next step is to slip in
a little formalism: "everyone would prefer to be happier and everyone would
pay more for things they like a little better" gets turned into a utility
function or indifference map. Those who like formal approaches get sucked in.
Once you have accepted something as plausible, a slightly less plausible notion
that deepens the plausible thing might be more easily accepted.
I wonder if this would be an interesting research issue for psychologists and
-- Professor Scott Moss Director Centre for Policy Modelling Manchester Metropolitan University Aytoun Building Manchester M1 3GH UNITED KINGDOM
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