Thursday, August 04, 2005

Ain't nuthin' the matter 

There's a discussion whether something's the matter with economics, and Craig Newmark has a view worth considering.
...what have you got that's better? Show me a social science that yields more insight, predicts better, and has more influence, and I'll take broad criticisms of economics more seriously.
The point of the economic way of thinking, as Keynes said long ago, is "a technique of thinking which helps its possessor to draw correct conclusions." That is, economics is a toolkit, not a set of theorems (and dear God not Theory), that explains how the world works. Take a problem, any problem, and use the techniques with the insight of Adam Smith, as Kevin Brancato argues. As Craig puts it, economics is the worst social science, except for all the others.

For non-economist bloggers and debaters, here's a simple primer on how to use economics in speech and writing. Chances are, you haven't got anything better.