October 4, 2016

Great souls’ methodology

Comment on Ken Zimmerman on ‘The Nobel factor — the prize in economics that spearheaded the neoliberal revolution’


The scientific method is well-defined: “Research is in fact a continuous discussion of the consistency of theories: formal consistency insofar as the discussion relates to the logical cohesion of what is asserted in joint theories; material consistency insofar as the agreement of observations with theories is concerned.” (Klant, 1994)

Logical consistency is secured by applying the axiomatic-deductive method and empirical consistency is secured by applying state-of-the-art testing.

NOBODY is obliged to do science. In fact, 99 percent of humanity live and die without the slightest idea of what science is all about. Science is embodied in their smartphones and not in their minds. This, though, is NOT a problem at all.

The problem starts as soon as somebody claims to do science but does not satisfy the criteria of material/formal consistency. This happened with economics. Economists claim to do science since Adam Smith/Karl Marx. What they in fact have done is cargo cult science or, more specifically, political economics. Political economics is agenda pushing and fundamentally different from theoretical economics (= science). The very signature of political economics is to give a shit about scientific standards: “As some one has said, it would seem that even the theorems of Euclid would be challenged and doubted if they should be appealed to by one political party as against another.” (Fisher, 1911)

Needless to emphasize that political economics has NOT produced anything of scientific value in the last 200 years. Economists are well aware of this and therefore try to question the standards and to ‘play tennis with the net down’ (Blaug).* Accordingly, the political economist’s methodology of choice is postmodern-new-age-pluralistic-anything-goes. Needless to emphasize that for any idiotism there is a philosopher who glorifies it: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do.” (Emerson)

Too bad that the great souls have run economics against the wall. Economists can no longer uphold the claim that what they do is science. In fact, Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism is PROVABLE inconsistent. And because of this the word “Sciences” has to be eliminated from “Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel”.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

* Heterodox economists are NO exception, see cross-references

Immediately preceding 'The real problem with the economics Nobel'