Thursday, May 21, 2015

Jason Smith — Frameworks and the Bohr model analogy

Why economics is (mathematical) philosophy rather than science.
As far as I can tell, there are no frameworks for economic models. Sure, there are some principles, but no frameworks. That is to say all economic models are effectively part of the same default framework that I'll call mathematical philosophy. Mathematical philosophy is basically making arguments with math. Physics was part of this "default" framework from about the time of Galileo to about the time of Newton. Newton created the first true framework of physics. Analogously, Darwin created the first framework for biology.….
How can you figure out what a framework is? Imagine you're given an economic question. Now ask yourself if there is something you immediately write down to start solving it. Is there something? That's your framework.….
And in the end, the reason physicists can easily ignore certain models as garbage is that they ignore the main frameworks: classical Newtonian mechanics, relativistic mechanics, quantum mechanics (nonrelativistic quantum theory) or quantum field theory (relativistic quantum theory). String theory is the most recently developed framework (it's not a specific model). If the model is working in a framework, you have to resort to empirical data to call it garbage.

Economists are still in the mathematical philosophy stage, so the only way you can eliminate garbage is empirical data. Romer is trying to set up some new framework that divides economics into "mathiness" and "science", but that's really just more mathematical philosophy! It's not going to work.….
Information Transfer Economics
Frameworks and the Bohr model analogy
Jason Smith

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