Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Dear Economic Pundits,

I enjoy economics and it's sisters in rational choice theory a great deal. I feel it's a great tool for interpretting human behavior, and attempting to quantify social studies is very important, as it shears us of biases (to some degree) that are too dominating in more humanitarian fields. It's a very important tool for any student of social behavior.

That being said. YOU ARE NOT SCIENTISTS. We don't know crapola about our field of study. We've got some equations, they seem to make sense, and we can mathematically prove some things that are common sense and people have known for thousands of years. This is kinda good start, I guess. But we can't test any of our hypotheses like we would want, any surveys that claim to find strong results are riddled with errors, and the dataset from which people usually do judge (history: as in, socialism is bad because look at the soviet union) is way too freaking small to be respectable in any scientific method.

Every time I see someone over at Mises blog (Von Mises being a very libertarian economist) laugh at some professor because he's a Keynesian and that's a horribly disproven line of thought, or Krugamn mock a politician because he was a supply-sider and every economist knows that's just myth and shamanism, I die a little inside. There is no god damn "scientific consensus" in economics, because you're not a real science, nothing like "cell theory in biology".

Give me some falsifiable statements. Testable hypotheses. Useful predictions. That, or lose your arrogance in acting like you're anything better than Churchill's often maligned "Ethnic Studies Department", but with numbers.

I still feel economics is very important in the human endeavor, as it helps us solve some very important problems that we need to solve now. And it may one day lead towards a real system of analysis. But you have got to stop treating everyone with different thoughts on monetary policy like the American Biologist Association was invited to debate with the Intelligent Design Institute. We don't know sh*t.

Thank you,

Potential CC's: Paul Krugman, Cato Institute, Brookings, Heritage, EconLog, Bred Delong, Yglesias, Von Mises Institute, Bush administration, Martin Feldstein and his Anti-Soc. 10 colleague, etc...


Any idea where else I would send that? Shrug, how about I invite any of you to email that to any right or left wing pundit you see expounding on how hopelessly unrealistic their academic and political opponents are.


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