Economics and pseudo-science

Perhaps the key to seeing through ‘(macro)economic’ theory is our long held suggestion that the moment you try to use calculus to do economics you enter into a realm of fallacy and pseudo-science.
Look at the history of physics: every advance had its own mathematical novelties and/or a new brand of ‘calculus somesuch’: from electromagnetism to general relativity/ quantum mechanics and quantum field theory the mathematics (and no doubt up to the extravagant and debated string theory) transformed at each stage. Thus the idea that a math that works for newtonian physics could work for economics is a curious delusion. It stands to reason that a field where consumer choice is central could never be modeled by a differential equation with its strict continuity requirements instantly broken by the input of the will/choice of a consumer.  What is strange is that physicists never blow the whistle…

One can recommend looking at our eonic model with its distinction of system action and free action, or free agency. But the distinction has entered science in the simplest way in the computer mouse: its code explicitly deals with discontinuous input: it has a ‘do while’ (or, so to speak, a ‘wait until’) phasing. There’s the answer, ye economic honchos…

More novel, and more subversive, is Skidelsky’s very fine job in making plain an inconvenient truth: that for all its aspirations to be received as a science, the analysis of many economists flows from their underlying social-political preferences. Economists, imagining their discipline as prestigious and pristine as physics, routinely hide behind the skirts of neutrality—the third law of thermodynamics has no political bias, after all, so why should monetarism? Money and Government has little patience for this fairy tale, noting the “silent ideological slant” of economic theory, and the book is savvy about how political power shapes economic possibility, attributing the shattering of the Keynesian consensus to a basic change in the balance of power that has “shifted decisively from labour to capital.”

Source: Whistling Past the Graveyard | Boston Review

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