Yours truly on economics rules and deductivism

7 April, 2016 at 20:45 | Posted in Economics | Leave a comment

Yours truly has two (!) articles in the latest issue (74) of Real-World Economics Review.

rodrikOne is a review of Dani Rodrik’s Economics Rules (Oxford University Press 2015) — When the model becomes the message — a critique of Rodrik  — on which I run a series of blogposts here in December last year.

Rodrik’s book is one of those rare examples where a mainstream economist — instead of just looking the other way — takes his time to ponder on the tough and deep science-theoretic and methodological questions that underpin the economics discipline.

There’s much in the book to like and appreciate, but there is also a very disturbing apologetic tendency to blame all of the shortcomings on the economists and depicting economics itself as a problem-free smorgasbord collection of models. If you just choose the appropriate model from the immense and varied smorgasbord there’s no problem. I sure wish it was that simple, but having written more than ten books on the history and methodology of economics, and having spent almost forty years ‘among them econs,’ I have to confess I don’t quite recognize the picture …

deductThe other article — Deductivism — the fundamental flaw of mainstream economics — argues that the more mainstream economics is aspiring to the ‘rigour’ and ‘precision’ of formal logic, the less it has to say about the real world. Although the formal logic focus may deepen our insights into the notion of validity, the rigour and precision has a devastatingly important trade-off: the higher the level of rigour and precision, the smaller is the range of real world application.

To read the other articles — by e.g. Thomas Palley, Alejandro Nadal, and Robert Locke — make sure to subscribe to RWER (click here).

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