What's Wrong with Conventional Economics?
By Arnold Kling
Michael Blowhard summarizes two books attacking mainstream economics.
For most of the “Changing Face” crowd, the field needs some correction, but nothing fundamental. One mathematical-modeling whiz says straight-out that there’s nothing wrong with mathematical modeling that better mathematical modeling can’t fix. For the heterodox economists whose thoughts are put on display in another book, “A Guide to What’s Wrong With Economics,” edited by Edward Fullbrook, what’s wrong with economics is far more basic, and the fixes that are needed are far more wide-ranging.
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A lot of the criticism of economics centers on the assumptions of self-interest and rationality. Those don’t bother me so much. I think that the amount of interesting and empirically supported predictions that you get out of those assumptions far outweighs the occasional clinker.
If you think in terms of the analogy of drilling for oil, I think there’s still a lot more to be found drilling in the fields of self-interest and rationality than in the field of behavioral economics.
I think that where economists become the proverbial drunk looking for a lost watch under a lamp post is when they insist on formal mathematical modeling. We need to find a way to maintain professional standards without forcing people to turn their ideas into equations.