Economists pretending to know

Economists pretending to know

March 2, 2015

from Lars Syll

economists pretend to know

We are storytellers, operating much of the time in worlds of make believe. We do not find that the realm of imagination and ideas is an alternative to, or retreat from, practical reality. On the contrary, it is the only way we have found to think seriously about reality. In a way, there is nothing more to this method than maintaining the conviction … that imagination and ideas matter … there is no practical alternative”

Robert Lucas (1988) What Economists Do

Sounds great, doesn’t it? And here’s an example of the outcome of that serious think about reality …

lucIn summary, it does not appear possible, even in principle, to classify individual unemployed people as either voluntarily or involuntarily unemployed depending on the characteristics of the decision problems they face. One cannot, even conceptually, arrive at a usable definition of full employment as a state in which no involuntary unemployment exists.

<!more–>

The difficulties are not the measurement error problems which necessarily arise in applied economics. They arise because the “thing” to be measured does not exist.

1001228_487671684653827_1206981299_n

A perverse intellectual hierarchy

February 28, 2015

In the sense that there now exists in the economics profession an implicit and perverse intellectual hierarchy which is premised on the understanding that the less of what you do is related to the real world, the cleverer you are. So, if you are really clever, you would do mathematical modelling of a kind that has nothing to do with the real world. You would do something on the Turing machine [a theoretical computing device] or on information cascade or some such thing. If you are a little less clever, you would do econometrics, and if you are not even that clever, you would work on monetary policy or development economics. And, if you are not even that good, you would do economic history. But if you are the worst, you would go around factories interviewing managers. So, the leadership of the profession is moving towards abstraction for the sake of abstraction.

This has resulted in the shutting down of courses such as the history of economics, history of economic thought, philosophy of economics and other such fields. Basically, teaching economics has become like one of the other trades, like becoming a plumber or a bricklayer, as if it is about providing students with a set of skills which they can apply. There is no encouragement of critical thinking or teaching of real-world issues.

Ha-Joon Chang

 

How to get published in ‘top’ economics journals

from Lars Syll

February, 2015 at 09:56 | Posted in Economics | Leave a comment

an-inconvenient-truth1By the early 1980s it was already common knowledge among people I hung out with that the only way to get non-crazy macroeconomics published was to wrap sensible assumptions about output and employment in something else, something that involved rational expectations and intertemporal stuff and made the paper respectable. And yes, that was conscious knowledge, which shaped the kinds of papers we wrote.

Paul Krugman

More or less says it all, doesn’t it?

And for those of us who do not want to play according these sickening hypocritical rules — well, here’s one good alternative.

 
This entry was posted in ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY, MSM MANIPULATION, Neoclassical and Neo-liberal Economics, EPISTEMOLOGY AND SCIENTIFIC METHOD, HOW TO LIE WITH STATISTICS, despotic academia, ideological classrooms, Real World Economics, Academic Left, Comparative Systems and Constitutions. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *