Saturday, June 11, 2016

Brad DeLong — Macroeconomics, Fantasy, Reality, and Intellectual Utility…

Sounds like the beginnings of another interesting debate. I suspect others will be jumping in.

What I don't see so far is the need for what E. O. Wilson called "consilience," on the assumption that knowledge is convergent since nature and history are convergent.

This is also a key assumption of systems thinking, system theory, and world-systems theory, which can be viewed as an extension of the fundamental assumption of philosophy since ancient times.

Philosophy studies the whole in terms of key fundamentals, a key assumption of which is that knowledge is compatible across areas.

Why is this important? Because knowledge is not just about understanding ourselves and our world.It is also about shaping them reflexively. Nature is a complex adaptive system and history is the story of human evolution as a product of nature, in which freedom and control are highly developed.

Economics is not merely a theoretical science. It is also a policy science. As a theoretical science it must be compatible with other sciences, and as a policy science it must be integrated with other policy sciences, as well as the humanities, ethics in particular. The end in view is living a good life in a good society.

WCEG — The Equitablog
Macroeconomics, Fantasy, Reality, and Intellectual Utility…
Brad DeLong

1 comment:

Brian Romanchuk said...

I read DeLong's piece quickly; it seemed pretty good. I might subdivide groupings more, but whatever.

The original piece by Noah Smith was dismissive of "coffee-house macro". I would label that style of thinking "political economy", and it pre-dated macro as a field, and will always be around. If we do not know what we want to accomplish, and why, a fancy theoretical framework is pretty much irrelevant. Smith is pretty good a trolling people, so this is not too surprising.