I’d like to share this post that I wrote for estudiosdelaeconomia/socializing finance. An invitation to, perhaps, rethink markets in society?
Originally posted on socializing finance:
Two months ago, I had the rare opportunity to speak to an audience that is foreign to (most of) us: a room full of natural scientists. The conference that I addressed, BioBricks Foundation 6.0, met at Imperial College, London, to discuss the most recent developments in synthetic biology. The panel in which I participated provided a space to introduce ‘recent’ developments in science and technology studies to synthetic biologists. I read it as an occasion to talk about the canonical bread-and-butter of social studies of finance—that is, how economics performs the economy. (I wholeheartedly thank Pablo Schyfter and Jane Calvert for their invitation).
While the contents of my talk are nothing new for the readers of this blog, the experience was particularly stirring in other ways, not the least because of the reactions of the audience to the concept of performativity (in their questions, those who remained in the room to listen to the social scientist sought clarification on how to model and predict what they saw as no more than noisy feedback loops between the abstract descriptions of economics and a detached, yet largely objective real world). Indeed, the greatest reward from participating of the conference came from having been exposed to, even if for a few hours, the awesome metaphors of synthetic biology.
from Juan Pablo Pardo-Guerra
The financial crisis has the makings of a Kuhnian revolution. In competition for a reconstituted sense of legitimacy are at least two houses of economic thought. The established regime of neoclassical economics provided the theoretical, normative and rhetoric scaffolds of financial regulation since at least the late 1960s. Behavioral economics, in contrast, emerged more recently as a reaction to the apparent illusion of rationality, uncovering the anomalies and biases that are unintelligible to the theoretical instruments of the previous regime. And today, whilst regulators scramble to rescue the institutions of the past and secure the markets of the future, economists wrestle – perhaps not nearly as explicitly as one would think – to redefine the nature and scope of their discipline in relation to the state and its regulatory practices. The contest between two royal households is on, between the extended neoclassical family and the smaller though by no means less robust house of behavioral economics. Read more…