Alfred Eichner


Alfred Eichner i "Why Economics Is Not Yet a Science":

….’The refusal to abandon the myth of the market as a self-regulating system is not the result of a conspiracy on the part of the “establishment” in economics. It is not even a choice that any individual economist is necessarily aware of making.

Rather it is the way economics operates as a social system—including the way new members of the establishment are selected—retaining its place within the larger society by perpetuating a set of ideas which have been found useful by that society, however dysfunctional the same set of ideas may be from a scientific understanding of how the economic system works.

In other words, economics is unwilling to adhere to the epistemological principles which distinguish scientific from other types of intellectual activity because this might jeopardize the position of economists within the larger society as the defender of the dominant faith.

This situation in which economists find themselves is therefore not unlike that of many natural scientists who, when faced with mounting evidence in support of first, the Copernican theory of the universe and then, later, the Darwinian theory of evolution, had to decide whether undermining the revelatory basis of Judeo-Christian ethics was not too great a price to pay for being able to reveal the truth.’


Björn Nilsson sa...

Man kan väl flytta nationalekonomin från samhällsvetenskapen till den teologiska fakulteten så hamnar den mer rätt i livet? När jag studerade nationalekonomi fick jag en känsla av att "här finns grabbarna som vet hur det är även om hela världen ropar att de har fel". De VISSTE, helt enkelt.

Teckentydaren sa...

Här är en historia från den Australiske ekonomi professorn Bill Mitchel:
"I recall a story when I was a postgraduate student and tutor at Monash University in my hometown of Melbourne. It was the late 1970s and early 1980s and unemployment in Australia was very high after the fiscal retrenchment that followed the OPEC oil price hikes. These stupid governments attacked a supply-side price hike with a demand-side contraction and claimed it was sensible policy.
Anyway, we were sitting in the tea-room one day and one of the more obnoxious Monetarists (he was a senior staff member – highly paid and tenured and hadn’t published much at all in his “long” career – those were the days!) was waxing lyrical about market-based solutions to the unemployment crisis out in the real world.

His solution? He seriously explained how the unemployed could start gardening supply businesses. How? Well he got his idea from a visit to the municipal tip (garbage dump) at the previous weekend and noticed there were lots of prams abandoned. He mused that the unemployed could go to the tip and scrounge up some bits of wood, get a pram chassis with wheels and bolt the parts all together.

To do what? Well they could then get up early each morning and follow the milkman and his horse and cart (milko’s were male in those days!) around the streets and pick up the shit that the milko’s horses dropped and then package it and sell it as fertiliser.

Problem? Well he said the problem was that the unemployed were too lazy to get up that early to exercise entrepreneurship. He was dead serious.

I sat there bemused (you couldn’t get angry with this level of ignorance) and at that point said to the assembled group of staff.

"Sorry, mate, milkos all use motorised vans these days. The horse and cart were replaced a few decades ago. "

Response: Mitchell again! Always opposing market forces.

This character and others held centre-stage every morning tea-time and was typically surrounded by wannabee postgraduate student/tutors who were taking in all the neo-liberal/monetarist crap that the senior staff would serve up. They, of-course, then grow up, get academic gigs themselves, and perpetuate the insult to humanity.

My advice here to all those students around the world who I now know read my blog daily (including the groups at Harvard, Stanford and LSE) is that the mainstream stuff is so banal that you can learn it in a short-time and all the mindless academic staff are expecting is regurgitation to prove that you are fit to join them sometime to continue the game. But it leaves you with plenty of time to learn other things and develop broader skills of analysis."

Jan Wiklund sa...

Lite egendomligt är det i alla fall. Teologin slog inte igenom förrän på 1980-talet. Dessförinnan fanns det åtskilligt av "realekonomi" i den akademiska världen, dvs ekonomi som byggde på empiri och utvärdering av vad som faktiskt fungerar. Och riktigt långt tillbaka fanns det ännu mer.

Här är för övrigt en kul webbplats av och för realekonomer: http://www.othercanon.org/. Några sådana finns i alla fall kvar. En av dom sitter för övrigt i norska krisrådet. Den roligaste sidan handlar om vad som skiljer verklig ekonomisk vetenskap från ekonomisk teologi: http://www.othercanon.org/papers/organisation.html

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