Thursday, February 26, 2015

Max Sawicky — Noah and Nick, Too

Follow up from Max Sawicky that makes some further good points what labor should be treated as labor and not capital.

It's a category mistake aka category error, and it's a logical fallacy.
A category mistake, or category error, is a semantic or ontological error in which things belonging to a particular category are presented as if they belong to a different category,[1] or, alternatively, a property is ascribed to a thing that could not possibly have that property. An example is the metaphor "time crawled", which if taken literally is not just false but a category mistake. To show that a category mistake has been committed one must typically show that once the phenomenon in question is properly understood, it becomes clear that the claim being made about it could not possibly be true. — Wikipedia 
Not only is "human capital" a category error, so is the economic view it is based on. And this is the fundamental problem with conventional economics. There is no problem in choosing any modeling method as along as it contributes to the task one is undertaking, to think about some issue heuristically but precisely, or even just for fun. But that is not the use to which conventional economic models are put. They are used for policy formulation, or at least recommend for such use. Moreover, they are based on a world view that their advocates advance. The model is taken to be not only a simplified model of economics relationship but also a key piece in an ideology that expresses as world view. 

This is a jump from economic modeling to philosophy that is based on huge unacknowledged assumptions about ontology, epistemology, ethics, and social and political philosophy, as well as ignoring in put from relevant disciplines such as psychology and cognitive science, anthropology, sociology and history, all of which deal more critically with what economists tend to assume uncritically. Worse, The economic approach is used to plead for a point of view being representative of reality that favors the interests of a privileged social, political and economic class.

Noah and Nick, Too
Max Sawicky

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