Neoliberal economics assumes a) we’re rational b) consistent c) all knowing of the future (despite Tom Worstall’s denials that this is so – and I explain why in the book) and are therefore, in effect d) automatons.
I simply cannot work out where Ritchie has got this from.
Unless, well, unless he\’s just completely misunderstood some of the buzz words that float around neo-classical economics.
Rational for example. At heart it\’s simply assuming that we try to figure out the best way of getting things done. It\’s a much, much, more restrictive meaning than the general language meaning of \”rational\”.
Consistent preferences? This doesn\’t, at all, mean that we are consistent in our preferences over time. Only that if you prefer A to B and B to C then you prefer A to C.
As to perfect future knowledge that\’s just balderdash.
And remember, these are all just simplifications used in certain models. That\’s all they are: no one at all is trying to state that they are an accurate description of a complex world. Only that as logical constructs they can help illuminate certain specific corners of it.
I’ll go further than that – for anyone who thinks we’re human and not automatons this book offers an explanation of economics almost unknown in mainstream literature,
Well, yes, that\’s rather the point. If you don\’t understand the mainstream literature then you may well come up with something different from it. That doesn\’t mean that what you\’ve come up with is either correct or even useful.
I suppose I\’ll have to wait for that review copy to pitch up to see whether he really has got his descriptions of \”mainstream economics\” so wrong.