Saturday, September 26, 2020

The problems of economics as an academic pursuit have a sociological origin — Gerald Holtham

The solution to a problem that is sociological and political does not lie in abstract discussions of methodology or trying to identify philosophical mistakes. It lies in being open-minded to insights from outside economics , in constructing theories that use appropriate formal methods not theories that are constructed to show off command of formal methods whether appropriate or not. It means defining the domain of theoretical propositions and accepting the verdict of empirical data relevant to that domain. In other words the answer to people doing it wrong is not to despair and retreat into philosophy; the answer is to do it right. No-one should claim that is easy.
The problem with conventional economics is assuming that economics is naturalistic like natural science rather than historical, in that participants are socially embedded in contexts that are dynamic.  The degree of complexity increases from physical systems, to biological systems, to social systems. Hence, different methodology — developing suitable methods for inquiry — is called for.

Real-World Economics Review Blog
The problems of economics as an academic pursuit have a sociological origin
Gerald Holtham

See also

Lars P. Syll’s Blog
What’s the use of economic models?
Lars P. Syll | Professor, Malmo University

41 comments:

Matt Franko said...

“The solution to a problem that is sociological and political does not lie in abstract discussions of methodology ..... It means defining the domain of theoretical propositions and accepting the verdict of empirical data relevant to that domain.”


So the guy says methodology doesn’t matter then right in the next sentence recommends employment of a different methodology (scientific)...

?????

Tom Hickey said...

Right, seems confused.

1. Defining the domain of theoretical propositions presupposes an abstract discussion of methodology unless a dogmatic approach is taken.

2. The conventional answer in economics to discussions of methodology is that the methodology debate is over and settled by the orthodox view, which simply excludes heterodox views arbitrarily.

3. Methodological debate is a key aspect of philosophy of economics as the study of the foundations of the discipline. Economists generally ignore foundational studies and either ignore, deny or bury issues that involves a mismatch been theory and data. This shows that methodological debate is necessary.

4. MMT economists are fond of saying that MMT provides a "lens." That lens is based on the method of approach, which essentially institutional rather than axiomatic-deductive.

5. The institutional approach acknowledges the historical and contextual nature of the subject matter of economics. A method that is suitable for dealing with this must take this into account methodologically.

Peter Pan said...

Economics as a public health issue would be an improvement. If it doesn't improve the lives of people, by all means leave it to academia.

Matt Franko said...

“provides a "lens."

more figurative language... there (I believe) are more professional terms to describe what they are doing...

Peter Pan said...

A lens in that context, is a perspective.

Provides a perspective.

Matt Franko said...

“like runs on a scoreboard!”... figurative language.... doesn’t work....won’t work... it’s a “deficit myth!” doesn’t work... won’t work...

Tom Hickey said...

A perspective involves structural, functional, and systemic aspects as a method of conceptual modeling.

"Reality" is perspectival. That's why different people and different groups disagree over "facts" and why there can be "alternative facts."

It's not so much a matter of being right or wrong — where are the independent criteria? It's a matter of inhabiting different "worlds."

Human being think that they know the "world" directly but they don't. They see through different "lenses." The way it is often analogized in epistemology is seeing through different colored glass, and no one has glasses that are not colored.

This is particularly the case since there is no such thing as rational thought independent of feeling. The two are joined cognitively and they cannot be disentangled since it is not possible to stand outside them.

To put it another way, what we take to be reality is constructed, both individually and socially, rather than received as it "really is."

Cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman argues that there is an evolutionary reason for it.

The Evolutionary Argument Against Reality

Peter Pan said...

We perceive; there is no getting away from that. Hence the saying "perception is 9/10 reality". A model of reality that can be mutually understood has practical uses.

Reality "as it really is" is a vainglorious concept. Talk about a "holy grail", the actual Holy Grail has nothing on this.

Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings, so there is rational thought independent of feeling during math tests.

The MMT perspective is the correct one. It describes the operation of the monetary system, which is a human construct, with a set of rules. Positional number systems, which are used in arithmetic, are built on a set of rules. In those simple cases, which are true by definition / true by design; reality can be understood "as it is".

Matt Franko said...

“ Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings,”

Yes but you shouldn’t be using mathematics to determine if we should or not impose a policy that someone might take offense to ... iow a new policy that might “hurt someone’s feelings”...

iow you look past their criminal behaviors and just look at the US BLM current objection to present policing policies and you don’t start plugging stuff into equations...

This is where the Platonist art degree methodology should be employed... it’s a non material problem... both sides enter into dialogue and you work out a synthesis/compromise and codify it into new laws and regulations...

Matt Franko said...

No math involved...

Peter Pan said...

No statistics allowed during policy discussion?

Matt Franko said...

iow why don’t people just use the art degree method for the stuff you should use that for and then just use the science method fir stuff you should use that for?

This is what really burns me up...

Matt Franko said...

Why?

Matt Franko said...

You think use stats to determine if the one side has a legitimate complaint or not?

Matt Franko said...

Look at the BLM stuff... druggie passes out in Wendy’s drive thru cops come he’s startled and runs away so they empty a clip into him in the back ...

I don’t care how many times that does or does not happen it’s a problem that need to be fixed

Matt Franko said...

Tom is asserting that we should be able to determine if that is a problem by plugging some numbers into an equation... please...

Peter Pan said...

When you have claims that aren't confirmed by statistics, that is relevant to a discussion.

Cops shooting people in the back for minor offenses is a moral/value judgement. Science and math have nothing to say there.

Peter Pan said...

If we want to evaluate the social costs of unemployment, numbers may have to be plugged into equations.

Matt Franko said...

Yeah but if you observe the discussions around the BLM stuff there are art degree morons there saying stuff like “well ... police have 1M interactions with black people and only 10 get killed in a year!” and shit like that... like you say trying to bring mathematics into it when they probably couldn’t even tell you the Square root of 49....

Complete art degree morons...

Matt Franko said...

“ evaluate the social costs of unemployment,”

It’s already been done... it was determined to be too high... so we passed the Humphrey Hawkins Full Employment Act...

Then implementation was turned over to art degree morons and they as usual fucked it all up...

Matt Franko said...

And are STILL fucking it all up... “out of money!” and all of their unqualified art degree bullshit...

Matt Franko said...

“”It’s like points on the scoreboard!” ... it’s a “deficit myth!” ... they are all unqualified second rate intellects.... they are the (AT BEST) B students... they don’t measure up ...

Tom Hickey said...

"Tom is asserting that we should be able to determine if that is a problem by plugging some numbers into an equation... please..."

I can't understand how someone would come up with that conclusion.

"Everyone knows" or should know that math and stats can be used to "prove" anything depending on priors.

Here is interesting article on bias.

The Bias that Divides Us

Matt Franko said...

Look at the whole Covid thing where the Art degree people are saying “follow the science!” ... THEN... the guy they keep pointing to (Fauci) DOESNT EVEN HAVE A FUCKING SCIENCE DEGREE.,, he’s got a BA in Classics from Holy Cross.., he’s trained to be A PRIEST for crying out loud...

Yet “follow the science!” from these people.., and ofc the whole thing is a shit show..,,

Matt Franko said...

“I can't understand how someone would come up with that conclusion. “

Tom you’re doing all the time... I’ll point it out going forward...,

Matt Franko said...

Hers another one from Bill the other day:

“Japanese fellowship: As an aside, I was notified last week that I have been awarded a fellowship from the – Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) –“

Does Bill even have a Science Degree at all? I’m thinking not... if not NOTHING is going to come of this.., will be complete waste of time...

Matt Franko said...

I’ll drop this here from the other thread... I’ve been observing you people for over a decade this is what you are doing, whether you realize it or not:

This is a geometric analogy of how you Art degree people are trained to think and operate:

Let’s look at a cartesian Coordinate system (2D)...

The target by law is set at (0,0)...

So there are 2 Art degree people A and B sent to hit the target... A takes a shot and hits (3,3), B takes a shot and hits (-3,3), so then A says “my shot is the best way to do it!”, then B says “no, my way is the best way to do it!” , (meanwhile BOTH MISSED... but they don’t care...) so then these 2 dialog and argue for a while and then eventually synthesize their shots and meet at (0,3) ... then high five each other even though the shot is still 3 units off the target....

In contrast:

Person C science trained, C take a shot and hit (3,0), C examines (tests) that and C discriminates a miss, C discard that shot and makes a corrective adjustment of (-3,0) and shoots again and hit the target dead on...

Whether you people realize you are doing this or not this is what you people are doing..,

Tom Hickey said...

"This is a geometric analogy"

Analogies are so "art degree," even if they have some numbers attached to make them look "very serious."

Peter Pan said...

Good ole Humphrey-Hawkins... not enough to get legislation passed... you have to lobby to get it enforced... lobby to get it funded... etc etc...

It's a racket, a shake-down.

Tom Hickey said...

Let's see. Bill Mitchell, Dr. Fauci, etc. don't have science degrees but Donald Trump does. Really?

Peter Pan said...

I want to hear the story of how art degree people messed up the implementation of Humphrey-Hawkins.

Greg said...

Yeah Tom he has a BS in Business from Wharton I believe......and no one on this planet who has a more apt title for their degree.

Matt Franko said...

“ Analogies are so "art degree,"

Well yeah but how am I supposed to communicate to you people? Scientific terms/methods ?

You will have no chance of understanding me...

Matt Franko said...

I don’t know how Penn did it back then but today currently they do it via Science methodology. .. I assume it was the same back then... Trump has the same degree from Penn that Mike has...

https://undergrad.wharton.upenn.edu/academics/bs-in-economics/


Matt Franko said...

“BS in Business from Wharton I believe......and no one on this planet who has a more apt title for their degree.”

Right “BS” is a figure of speech for “bullshit” ...

Checkmate....

you art degree morons keep making my point for me..

Matt Franko said...

“BS is for bullshit... MS is for more shit ... PHD is for pile it higher and deeper...”

Cute joke but still leaves you people as second rate intellects and cognitively deficient in applying abstraction...

Matt Franko said...

The only reason you people believe we are not “out of money!” is because you are believing the MMT art degree people anti thesis who say “were not out of money!” ... but you don’t properly understand what is going on...

To you people it’s just an opposing dogma...

Peter Pan said...

Hmm, BS is an acronym.

Greg said...

BS Bachelor of Science or
BS Bull Shit

CHF Congestive Heart Failure
CHF Community Health Facility

One needs to know context of discussion to know what acronym means. Could be “patient transferred in from CHF with diagnosis of CHF”

The thing about Trumps degree is the context is irrelevant because his BS is BS


And thank you Matt for talking down to us so we can understand things I know that must be difficult for you, but we really appreciate your efforts. We just aren’t cognitively ready to apply abstractions but we hope one day to be as literate in science as you are, maybe even capable of understanding accounting, that highest of all scientific endeavors.

Six said...

“you people”

😂😂😂

Peter Pan said...

Archie Bunker: "youse people"