Friday, June 07, 2013

“economics is haunted by more fallacies than any other study known to man.”― Henry Hazlitt

globalresearch | Over millennia, numerous enterprises have sought the status of science. Few have succeeded because they have failed to discover anything that stood up to scrutiny as knowledge. No body of beliefs, no matter how widely accepted or how extensive in scope, can ever be scientific.

In the Ptolemaic system of astronomy, the epicycle is a geometric model of the solar system and planetary motion. It was first proposed by Apollonius of Perga at the end of the 3rd century BCE and its development continued until Kepler came up with a better model in the 17th century, and the geocentric model of the solar system was replaced by Copernican heliocentrism. In spite of some very good approximations to the problems of planetary motion, the system of epicycles could never get anything right.

Phrenology was originated by Franz Joseph Gall [right] in the late 1700s. After examining the heads of a number of young pickpockets, Gall found that many of them had bumps on their skulls just above their ears and suggested that the bumps, indentations, and shape of the skull could be linked to different aspects of a person’s personality, character, and abilities. Gall measured the skulls of people in prisons, hospitals, and asylums and developed a system of 27 different “faculties” that he believed could be directly diagnosed by assessing specific parts of the head, and he chose to ignore any contradictory evidence. After Gall’s death in 1828, several of his followers continued to develop phrenology. Despite some brief popularity, it was eventually viewed as a pseudoscience much like astrology, numerology, and palmistry. All of these, too, could never get anything right.

Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist who is known as the father of psychoanalysis which is a clinical method for treating psychopathology by having a patient talk to a psychoanalyst. Results on the mental health of patients were scanty at best. Some contend that Freud set back the study of psychology and psychiatry “by something like fifty years or more”, and that “Freud’s method is not capable of yielding objective data about mental processes”. Others consider psychoanalysis to be perhaps the most complex and successful pseudoscience in history. Karl Popper, who argued that all proper scientific theories must be potentially falsifiable, claimed that no experiment could ever disprove Freud’s psychoanalytic theories and thus were totally unscientific. Now Freud’s work has little relevance in psychiatry. It could never cure anyone. But it was not Freud who created a pseudoscience, it was the people who uncritically adopted his views.

Today the great fraudulent science is economics, but I don’t intend to beat that carcass. It has been shown not to be a science by numerous astute people. Even some renowned economists have been convinced of it. Paul Samuelson has said, “Economics has never been a science—and it is even less now than a few years ago.” Even Nassau William Senior knew it: “The confounding Political Economy with the Sciences and Arts to which it is subservient, has been one of the principal obstacles to its improvement.”

Yet many working economists continue to claim that it is or at least that it is more of a science than its siblings in the social enterprises of study. Perhaps these people feel that their work lacks dignity if it is not scientific, being unable to say exactly what it is if it is not science. So let’s look at some things that economists regularly do to see if what they are doing can be defined.


umbrarchist said...

But there is leakage from the circular flow. There is Depreciation on the supply side where economists do not mention NET Domestic Product much. But there is Depreciation on the Demand side which economists do not mention at all.

Since the palefaces nearly had a nuclear war over economic ideology with the Cuban Missile Crisis it would certainly be interesting to know how much Demand Side Depreciation they have ignored since then. And the economy was regarded as good in the early 60s.

CNu said...

Economists only concern themselves with adding up the money that is transferred from consumers to vendors. If Americans increased their savings, GP would decrease, the monetary economy would shrink. To prevent such shrinkage, business practices have been developed that make it impossible for people to really save.

All of the foregoing demonstrates that the only goal this conglomeration of commercial practices called the economy has is to pick the pockets of consumers for the benefit of vendors, and economists are only concerned with adding up and increasing the take. Whether consumers benefit or not is irrelevant. The goal of this “economy” is theft.

Genius is not required to understand this or even to figure it out. All that is required is close attention to the language being used. People need to listen carefully to what is being said and then ask themselves, does that make sense? More often than not, they’ll conclude that it doesn’t.

Language is perhaps the most complicated tool human beings use. Senseless sentences can easily be put together that delude people. Such sentences can often delude the speaker her/himself. The position of words in a sentence is not a sufficient condition for meaningfulness. The words also have to have logical coherence. Liberal economics is made up of a host of sentences whose words lack such coherence.