Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id SAA14278 (8.6.9/5.3[ref email@example.com] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from firstname.lastname@example.org); Tue, 19 Dec 2000 18:06:56 GMT Message-Id: <200012191806.SAA14278@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: Tue, 19 Dec 2000 10:04:05 -0800 (PST) Subject: Re: CAMREC: Egalitarianism in a world of power-law distributions
--- the Campaign for Real Economics <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Do think there are purely scientific economic
Difficult. It depends on how you define science and
prediction obviously. If you reach aprediction on an
economic issue just by employing a known, testable,
"deterministic" (in the sense that the same input
delivers the same output) method: Yes sure.
Whether predictions can be made in a *purely*
scientific manner is very debatable, I think. Good
scientists seem to rely on intuition a lot esp. in
making predictions, so they cannot meet the above
criteria there. A case in point would be chemist
Kekule's account of discovering the structure of
organic C6-rings (in a dream). The counterexample
would be mathematically derived prediction's from
Einstein's relativity theories.
The scientific element is then in the proof of the
prediction, i.e. in a method, setup or sth else
devised to test it (in math and logic a set of
logically connected set of statements which make up a
proof - where there is some discussion on what
operations and connections are allowed).
The problem with economics is of course in the rules,
types of statements and methods that are allowed if
you want be accepted (! - human nature having its
toll) as a mainstream economist.
Mainstream economics can be seen as a set of axioms
and statements from which conclusions are derived. So
far and up to this point mainstream economics is (or
tries to be - nobody can be perfect) scientific. The
big question is of course about the match with reality
and relevance of results.
You can compare the situation with geometry: based on
different axioms mathmaticians can derive different
geometric "worlds" that describe different situations.
Economists can be seen as doing the same for economic
worlds - so mainstream economists are deriving one
type of world which is completely justified and
scientific given their axioms and rules. Whether its
relevant at all or under which conditions only is
another question. (One would be: what if there is
reflexitivity operating in social systems?).
Economics (in general) could thus be envisioned as
encompassing a number of different world descriptions
(mainstream, evolutionary, marxist, etc.) and methods
to get them (sociology, anthropology, psychology,
human ethology, and mainstream economics (which would
be called applied math better)). We would be in the
same situation as other sciences then: An area of
methods - partly borrowed from other fields to
investigate these issues. The scientific element would
be a) in the derivation of these world descriptions
and b) in the determination which world matches which
situation - and c) last but not least: how do we find
out which situation is given at this moment?)
Economics (mainstream version excluding other
approaches as unscientific) would/can then be
described as being an ideology in the sense that it
allows only one method and one situation - this is not
quite true and changing slowly but increasingly. Which
- are partly scientific but economics as a proper
science is certainly not yet mature. Child's play - or
About mainstream economists' exclusion of other
defining the others out of the field, or is it also
non-math oriented/heterodox economists feeling
inferior and putting themselves in a strong
The real issue seems to be about relevance not about
I could need some answer from practicing economists on
Part of the antagonism can probably be explained with
the history of science in general - trend towards
rationalization and accountability (very easy with
formal math models), positivism as a countermovement
against more or less wild statements claiming
scientific authority, the debate between marginalists
and the historic school, the relationship between
economics and biology - there are some interesting
structural similarities, resp parallel developments
which never (?) were acknowledged openly (another
field on which i could need comments).
So there can be scientific predictions in economics as
far as in any other science and as ar as predictions
in general can be scientific. What we need to work on
is determining their relevance.
Do you agree?
Do You Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Shopping - Thousands of Stores. Millions of Products.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Tue Dec 19 2000 - 18:06:58 GMT