• LD Saunders
    I've read a lot of economics books, and would definitely not classify economics as being no more valuable than astrology. One should also keep in mind, when judging the work of economists, is that there is no such thing as a universally valid economic model. Universal models exist in physics, chemistry, engineering, but not in economics. An economist will use a model that seems to describe the important aspects of a given situation, and an economist can chose from among hundreds of different economic models. A brief example illustrates this point. If the price of gas went up significantly and Congress held a hearing on rising gas prices, would it be wrong for Congress to establish a price ceiling for gas? Many people have a knee-jerk reaction saying yes, because a price ceiling will cut production and increase demand, as rising prices will no longer give producer an incentive to produce, and consumers an incentive to consume less. However, this is false. While it is true that ina competitive market a price ceiling is likely to have this impact, if the situation were one involving monopoly pricing, a price ceiling would actually encourage greater production in order for the monopolist to increase profits. So, even when it comes to something as simply as price ceilings, economists do not have a universally valid answer, for all situations.

    To say that economists always avoid nature, is simply not true. Perhaps some models do, but only when the facts regarding nature are deemed insignificant for the issue being addressed. Where that is not the case, economics does address such things as harm from pollution, and limited natural resources.

    I would also note that much work in biology uses economic models in describing even such things as how bacteria cells interact with one another in communities.
  • DiegoT
    yes, biologists do use economic terms, I agree with that, I disagree in considering it a positive thing.
    Astrology is not so bad; consider how people such as Newton, Copernicus or Tyco Brahe were accomplished astrologers, and they were great contributors to knowledge. Brahe is famous for his study on the first supernova, based on papers sent by his friend the English wizard John Dee. Astrology was a science in the Modern Age, only it was based on a paradigm that was later abandoned: that is, that planets emitted a radiation that affected life on Earth. It turned out that only the Sun and the Moon can exert that influence on living organisms in our planet, as they are close to us.
    Astrology, like Economics, did a very good job for millennia of calculating the passing of comets, predicting eclipses, adjusting the calendar to the celestial motions, and perfecting navigation. It was rejected by the new Science becouse the Enlightenment needed a new paradigm, a new way of arranging the puzzle of the Universe above and below. Copernicus wanted this change, but he was not to see it, becouse he could never produce hard evidence that the models Astrology was based on were false. This evidence came a century ago, with the development of optical telescopes.

    Likewise, we have Economics today, that is based on real calculations and facts, just like Astrology was based on real formulas and the empirical observation of the sky. However, something is missing, or we wouldn´t have caused the Sixth Extinction or the Population bomb. Economics is based on the wrong paradigm, and we can not tell becouse Science is based on the same paradigm. Just like Astrology fitted pretty nicely with the theory of the four humours, Platonism, and creationism, and all these explanations seemed to reinforce each other and do a good job of describing real phenomena.
  • ssu
    The texts produced by a branch of Science are meaningless, until the relationship among those ideas and ideas in other disciplines are explained.DiegoT
    As the old name of economics shows, political economy, the bond between economics and other social sciences is obvious. Just as you can go from biology to biochemistry to chemistry, so does economics, political science and sociology have things in common. Yet to go from Physics to economics is a bit confusing: you can use perhaps some mathematical model in both fields, but then again you can statistics and for example calculate the mean average of a multitude of data. That you can calculate the mean average and get doesn't mean that there obviously is a connection with the various data.

    For example, economists have real issues with the idea that Nature is not really best described in economical terms: species, resources, competence, predation and partnership, leading to "evolution" or cumulative capital. Nature is just a market yet to be exploited by man, so nothing can be learnt from Ecology or Biology that should be applied to Economics. It´s economics that explain nature, in this pseudo-scientific view, very much like gender theory enthusiasts think that human nature is best explained by Judith Butler and not by anthropologists.DiegoT
    Sorry, but I've not yet met (or read) the Economist that thinks that economics explains nature. I think they do have a respect for Biology.

    Here's an easy understandable video on the difference of the sciences. As this person points out, the subjectivity of some complex topics is important. Yet the scientific method can be used in these fields. He even adds arts to this 'map'.

  • ssu
    Astrology is not so bad; consider how people such as Newton, Copernicus or Tyco Brahe were accomplished astrologers, and they were great contributors to knowledge. - Astrology, like Economics, did a very good job for millennia of calculating the passing of comets, predicting eclipses, adjusting the calendar to the celestial motions, and perfecting navigationDiegoT
    You mean early astronomy, right? I think something perfecting navigation isn't astrology. Astrology is when you measure celestial bodies to give political advice or similar forcasts, not things like maritime navigation.
  • MindForged
    Does economics have many problems? Yes.

    Is it still a science? Also yes.
  • LD Saunders
    DiegoT: I agree with ssu above, that you likely confused the pseudo-science drivel of Astrology, with astronomy. Astrology is made up garbage, on the order of other pseudoscience junk, like healing crystals and pyramid power.

    As far as the rest of your comment, you have simply made unfounded assertions. Like your claim that it is a bad thing that biologists use concepts from economics. No, it isn't, and one could not even explain evolution without referencing economics. For example, our distinctive advantage as humans is intelligence. So why are we not getting smarter and smarter and an exponential rate? It's because we have costs as well as benefits associated with our big brains --- like the bigger our brains, the harder it is to have successful births as a baby's skull has to fit through a narrow birth canal. There is also an enormous energy cost associated with a bigger brain, as we presently use about 20% of our energy on our brains. Economics is also used to study how collections of cells form communities and when it would and would not be advantageous to do so.

    I also am not aware of any economist rejecting biology in engaging in economics.
  • hks
    Sounds like you do not appreciate Economics and probably did not take any such courses in college.

    If you had taken such courses in college you would have learned that Economics can be subdivided into micro-economics (the economics of individuals and households) and macro-economics (the economics of nations and the world). International would fall under macro.

    Since economics starts with data and observations and progresses to theories of behavior it is definitely a science. No question about it.
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