poniedziałek, 24 stycznia 2011

Greedy Reductionism of Mainstream Economics

Casma Shalizi has written a delightful article, except maybe for the last point:

Points 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 simply state the obvious, but it gets real interesting when in point 5 Casma can't see why errors in macro-level theory "should always be the preferred option in economics". Very good! Maybe there are micro-level errors after all! Accordingly, "maybe the simplification of always solving for the equilibrium is wrong". Perfect! Mainstream economics long-term equilibrium equations assumption of homo economicus is a perfect example of a micro-level error, which "accumulates when one goes to the level of whole economies". Wonderful! Finally, Casma finds an analogy that "classical physics predicts that matter should be unstable". Another excellent example of greedy reductionism based on primitive (classical) micro-level models!

Then in point 6 Casma continues to state the obvious, Austrians do usually develop their theory post-hoc. And that is correct, after all, also virtually all mathematical proofs have been developed post-hoc. But you better have correct micro-level theory first!

Finally, in point 7, Casma believes that macro-level causal model is easier to develop than micro-level one. Certainly! Greedy reductionism example! But why should something be "more suitable for policy-making" just because it is easier? Beats me...

2 komentarze:

  1. Dear Joanna:

    I don't know how to contact you directly, so I'm using this comment box (hope you don't mind).

    Post after post by Mr. Huben on his blog, I see a consistent pattern of condescending and rhetorical "critiques" of libertarianism, including the straw-men characterizations of the various viewpoints, which you observed.

    Whatever valid points Mr. Huben makes, they are so deeply buried in his rhetorical style that it's simply not worth wading through it all.

    I am a scientist who does psychological research. I have read hundreds of science articles. With peer review, there is a tone of respect and modesty in one's arguments. Now I realize that without peer review that even scientists get on their rhetorical hobby horse when presenting arguments for the general public. But if Mr. Huben believes he is coming from a position of scientific integrity in his arguments, he is only fooling himself. He speaks of confirmation bias among libertarian, which is ironic because I've seen this bias among people of ALL political orientations.

    I congratulate you on your tenacity in maintaining discussions on his blog. After reading one of his insulting and patronizing replies to my post, I've decided it's not worth responding to him.



  2. Walter,

    I appreciate your good word. I don't really mind Mike's insulting and patronizing though. I'm not a saint myself. What really bothers me is irrationality, most of his arguments being illogical rubbish. But even then, it's fun to figure out why exactly. Then there are some correct arguments against some simplistic libertarians and I personally owe him a lot: http://critiquesofcollectivism.blogspot.com/2011/02/critiques-of-libertarianism.html

    Thank You!,