Battlepanda: Some reactions...


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Some reactions...

Wow. Who knew that there are so many discontents in economics? There have been some wonderful comments on the state of economics in general and how it's being taught in particular. Kudos, everyone.

Robert identifies with RJ to a spooky extent,
even though he seems to be some kind of economist! Well, actually I think we all know where RJ is coming from to some degree.

The Ethical Werewolf
is even more unforgiving in his analysis of economists.
Being able to "apply logic" -- or more precisely, being able to use sophisticated mathematical techniques -- on top of false simplifying assumptions can be worse than trading your Econ textbooks for whiskey and never thinking about demand curves again. When you confidently apply fancy math to screwed-up empirical assumptions, you come out with full-fledged false beliefs about how the world works. Then you walk zombie-like through the world, using your math-derived cred to impress and terrify people until they embrace your false and destructive beliefs.
I'm worried that economists have a tendency to accept false conclusions derived false premises because the structure of the argument is so mathalicious. This tendency must be overcome. It's the same kind of tendency one sees in lots of other fields (evolutionary psychology, anyone?). Somebody falls in love with a cool mode of argument and suddenly they're applying it in the most dubious places.
Being compared to evolutionary psychology? Ouch! You heard him, folks. Resist that mathalicious temptation, or the Werewolf will come and make a snack out of you!