The State of Economics

Every day, every where, you will hear economists telling us what we all should be doing. One thing you'll never hear these buggers do is explain what the Hell it is that they are doing.

It's not easy to sift through the daily mumbo-jumbo to find out what economics really is. So I consulted a propaganda text book. In the 3rd edition of their book, "Principles of Macroeconomics", John E. Sayre and Alan J. Morris say:

Economics is the study of the allocation of scarce resources to produce goods and services that are used to maximize human satisfaction in the face of unlimited human wants.
I'm immediately struck by the assumptions underpinning this definition:
Assumption 1 Are resources scarce?
Assumption 2 Do goods and services maximize human satisfaction?
Assumption 3 Are human wants unlimited?

It seems to me that the standard neoclassical model of economics --- the one that all businesses and politicians and media pundits take forgranted --- must either deny Assumption 1 or, more likely, exploit it for malevolent intent. The standard model is based upon the idea of never ending economic growth. How can unbounded growth be compatible with scarce resources? One of the following must be true:

Ask yourself, "Who do these economists really work for?"

There is a branch of economics, called "ecological economics" that seems to understand that there are boundaries to growth. Some of them have even gone so far as developing a theory of "steady-state economics". Banks don't pay them. Big Business doesn't pay media pundits to spread the "steady-state" word.

Ask yourself, "Who do these media pundits really work for?"

So we come to Assumption 2. Surely we can say that some goods and services are necessary for human satisfaction. But I dispute that goods and services are sufficient to maximize human satisfaction. Perhaps a human who has been brainwashed by relentless commercial advertising might think that satisfaction can be achieved from goods and services. Healthy human minds get a great deal of satisfaction from other things.

So how do the branches of economics stack up with regard to Assumption 2? Obviously the standard model is predicated upon bending human minds to fit the assumption. Hence the relentless stream of advertising and economic propaganda. We should not be surprised that the Banker's Economists are playing with our minds.

I was greatly surprised to find that the steady-state economists are also followers of Assumption 2. They have not yet freed themselves from the Bankers yoke. They still fall in line when when it comes to advertising.

Finally, Assumption 3. This is the big one! Can you stretch your mind to imagine unlimited wants? I don't think so. It took a long time for human beings to get a solid handle on infinity. We can say that we have mathematically formalized the idea of infinity. We have also mathematically formalized the idea of 10 dimensional space. Honestly, I can't picture such things in my minds eye.

Of course we can imagine big things. And we might sometimes want more than is good for us. "Ones eyes are sometimes larger than ones stomach". That is the point, we are finite animals. We are evolved to live in the real world, not some infinite abstraction invented by economists. Our wants are not unlimited and it would be damned unsatisfying to try to fill even one unlimited want let alone unlimited wants.

No individual can fit the needs of the economists theory. Unfazed, the standard economist propagandises for population growth to fit his model.

"There, you see? Total wants going to infinity".

So what does all this tell us about the state of economics?

Quite clearly, all the branches of economics seem to be about unfounded relations between variables that are not even real. Variables that can't be measured. Where have we seen that before?

Galileo advanced physics by recognizing a false relationship between a push and motion. People used to think that motion could only be sustained so long as a force continued to be applied.

Many advances in physics came by dumping variables that could not be measured and formulating theory in terms of variables that could be measured. Einstein dumped the aether to formulate special relativity. Then he arrived at General Relativity after dumping the distinction between inertia and gravity. Heisenberg dumped the idea of precisely knowing the momentum and position of a particle and got the quantum mechanical ball rolling.

The state of economics is sort of mystical, like physics before Galileo. Not totally worthless. Not at all believable.