Idiot stupidity

The problem is not so much that there is a Nobel prize in economics, but that there are no equivalent prizes in psychology, sociology, anthropology. Economics, this seems to say, is not a social science but an exact one, like physics or chemistry – a distinction that not only encourages hubris among economists but also changes the way we think about the economy.

So which idiotic cunt thinks that literature or peace making are sciences?

14 thoughts on “Idiot stupidity”

  1. Bloke in North Dorset

    Noah Smith does a good job of ripping it apart:

    Hey, you know, I like a good econ critique as well as the next person. Goodness knows, econ needs some critiquing. The profession is still too soft on wanky theory, still sloppy with the evidence, still focused too much on macro, still too enamored with libertarian ideas, and still too accepting of sexism. But compared to a lot of fields out there, econ is really on an upward trajectory. Physics is in the process of abandoning empiricism for wanky string theory, psych has a huge reproducibility crisis, anthropology has degenerated into leftist activism, and sociology is in danger of following. English and literature, of course, are just totally screwed. Compared to those guys, econ looks like it’s in pretty good shape, with much better data, more of an applied micro focus, and rapid innovation in empirical methodology.

    BUT, it’s Econ Nobel season, and so someone needs to do the job of standing up and repeating all the old disses. This year, it’s Joris Luyendijk in The Guardian. Here are a few of the tired old chestnuts that we see trotted out from time to time (chestnuts can trot because they’re horse chestnuts, so shush).

  2. his biography is a bit hazy but seems to include anthropology & political science plus an “anthropological take on banking” for the Graun…

    The prize gets announced soon but it’s already being described as “mad” and “neoliberal” by Steve Keen; suspect he wouldn’t be using quite that terminology if it was likely to go to someone he agrees with…

  3. ” still too enamored with libertarian ideas”

    Piss on this Noah clown as well. Deep enough to make him wish he’d built that ark after all.

    Physics has been much more about theory than experiment for a long time. “Dark matter” to explain the “out-by- 95%” results of their estimates of the mass of the Universe. The Ptolemaics would be proud.

  4. I don’t disagree with this idea in theory, so long as it’s applied firmly to the NYT columns of Paul Krugman.

  5. Slightly OT, but I read recently the best response to a SJW feminist who was arguing that the patriarchy was preventing intelligent women from entering STEM fields at college.

    “Something must be done!” was the cry.

    Her opponent simply asked the feminist, “So would I be right in thinking that you went to college to study women’s studies?”

    Of course he was right. Sound of gigantic penny dropping somewhere.

  6. “Dark matter” to explain the “out-by- 95%” results of their estimates of the mass of the Universe.

    No, “dark matter” is the concordance model paradigm* to explain roughly a quarter of the discrepancy. “Dark energy”** gets the other 70-odd percent.

    * MOND is there as an alternative – but is a whole level of additional complexity compared to there being “non-baryonic matter that isn’t travelling at significant fraction of light-speed.” We know, of course, that there is plenty of non-baryonic matter travelling at significant fractions of light-speed. It just doesn’t weigh very much.

    ** And the alternatives to that (other than the cosmological constant which turns out to be just a different term for the same thing) violate the Copernican principle.

  7. Actually, it’s worse than that …

    “out-by- 95%” results of their estimates of the mass of the Universe

    Not in the slightest.

    The observed matter in the Universe, when summed, appears to be about 5% of the mass required for the universe to be flat, if General Relativity is accurate at large scales (which it pretty much seems to be.) However, the Universe is pretty damn flat.

    Ergo, there is matter, or at least mass, that we aren’t observing. So it is, to us at least, “dark”. Now, you can speculate what it might be. But it is there.

  8. As Lud implies, there’s only a counterfeit Nobel Prize in economics. As a cynic might expect, the counterfeiter is a Central Bank.

  9. “psych has a huge reproducibility crisis”: actually, the one bit of psych that doesn’t have an HRC is one so dogged by PC that you can risk your career by taking an interest in it. Hey ho.

  10. SE:”Ergo, there is matter, or at least mass, that we aren’t observing. So it is, to us at least, “dark”. Now, you can speculate what it might be. But it is there.”

    Or something else entirely is going on. Just as it was with the Ptolemaic model.

  11. What else is going on? Please, enlighten me.

    SMFS is our resident Field Marshal. You can be our resident Regius Professor.

  12. Carry on writing Tim. One day you will get the “Nobel” prize. In fact it’s a foregone conclusion.

    Whoopie doopie do!

  13. “Seven years ago this autumn, practically the entire mainstream economics profession was caught off guard by the global financial crash”

    Is this true? Is it honestly the case that most economists of say, a Friedman persuasion thought that there wasn’t a crash coming from a year or two out? Personally (and I’m no economist), I was looking at how banks were doing anything to lend more and more money to borrowers and thought it was going to blow (and was out by about 3 years).

    But on a pretty broad scale, economists get the big stuff right. We’ve had enough data from 100+ years to be able to clearly make certain decisions. We may not be able to exactly predict how poor a country will be from running a command economy than a market one, but we can say that command will be worse than market.

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