Monday, April 22, 2013

Economics as philosophy with calculus: an example

- by New Deal democrat

No sooner does Bonddad publish his piece immediately below than Paul Krugman finds a nearly perfect example of my critique last week of much of economics as merely "Philosophy with Calculus," i.e., data and results that don't fit the already-held ideology are ignored. He quotes Anders Asland's assertion that "Reinhart and Rogoff are still right" because their work provided:
an important corrective to the view that fiscal stimulus is always right - a position ... led by Paul Krugman....
Krugman notes that he's never said that stimulus is "always right," but more fundamentally in my view is the fact that to Asland, the ideological conclusion is obviously right, the evidence be damned. If the data doesn't matter, than it is simply highfalutin math in service of philosophy, and not science at all.

P.S.: I'm not saying that all macroeconomics is not science. Both Krugman and Brad DeLong, for example, have confessed to errors in their previously held beliefs that were shown to be false by subsequent data. But if I'm an astronomer and half my profession turns out to be astrologers, or if I'm a metallurgist and half my profession turns out to be alchemists, then my profession has a problem.