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Howard Reed’s demand

So where do we go from here? If we accept that we need fundamental reform, what should the new economics—“de-conomics” as I’m calling it—look like? Much, of course, must be left to be determined by new research, working to new priorities within new paradigms. However, we can sketch out some desirable characteristics of a retooled economics.

First, we need to accept that there is no such thing as “value-free” analysis of the economy. As I’ve explained, neoclassical economics pretends to be ethically neutral while smuggling in an individualistic, anti-social ethos. In reality, any statement about the economy that goes beyond descriptive statistics (for example: “the annual rate of CPI inflation was 2.7 per cent last month”) is a value judgment.

Only by acknowledging that can we have an honest debate about how our economy and society work.

Guess whose, and which, values are to be embedded in the core of this new economics? Any predictions for what this new normative science will demand are the norms?

11 thoughts on “Howard Reed’s demand”

  1. I saw this and thought you would rip it a new one! Prospect is a good mag (better than it’s rightish sister Standpoint) but it’s economics are a bit of a joke

  2. Bloke in Tejas in Normandy

    Well, he’s probably mixing things up.

    As you all know, I am not even a minor approximation to a real economist. And so what I think on the subject must be handled with extreme caution.

    One example of where I assume he must be wrong is in claiming that ‘current economics’ views the world as full just of monomaniac profit-fixated companies (and monomaniac utility-fixated individuals), all so similar that given the same line of business, they’re interchangeable.

    In the real world, we can observe that most companies are badly run by amazingly incompetent people who make weird decisions. Presumably the base theories of economics can handle the reality that companies are doing the best they can in a world of incomplete information, not the best possible in a perfect world. (Similarly, individuals do indeed seek to maximize utility – but most of them couldn’t tell you what they really want, nor would their actual actions be consistent over time in most cases.)

    That is, his analysis is shit. He claims that if the actors don’t do perfectly what the theory ‘expects’, the theory is useless. This seems ummm.. unreasonable.

    It might be more mathematically satisfying to describe the models formally in a manner where the agents have some form of distribution of competences (etc), but (unless there are singularities somewhere), this would, I would imagine reduce to the simpler case without much change in predictive power.

    He is, however, correct in something he didn’t say. If you want to use economics to help drive an economy or a society where you think it should be, you will need to have metrics of success which usefully measure your progress to those goals. Like the obviously key goal of ‘reducing inequality’.

    But these metrics are **politics**, not economics.

  3. “As I’ve explained, neoclassical economics pretends to be ethically neutral while smuggling in an individualistic, anti-social ethos….whereas my economics makes no pretence to be anything other than the rancid mad ravings of a complete cunt”

  4. I note that Howard reed describes his economics as progressive. Considering the damage done by progressives in the name of “progress” I think we can probably describe his solutions as shit and no doubt include the demand for the magic money tree of a spending splurge.

  5. ‘Philosophers sometimes define science as an endeavour that makes verifiable predictions, so the failure to see major shocks coming makes this a very dismal science.’

    A cheaply stolen line, poorly applied.

    The major shocks were widely predicted. The Left ignored the warnings. Anything that happens outside their cave never happened.

    Government control of the economy has failed, so Reed demands government control of the economy.

  6. It’s a blueprint that looks likely to be followed by Jez Corbin though. A blueprint for a higher education more like you might find in Turkmenistan or North Korea, but nevertheless a blueprint

  7. Maybe we should have some New Physics, and some New Mathematics to go along with these New Economics :rolleyes:

  8. @ Rob Fisher
    And New Theology … except that so passe since we got the Memo “Nietzsche is dead, signed God”

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