Noah Smith — ill-informed and misleading
from Lars Syll
Yours truly is far from being alone in criticising Noah Smith’s article on heterodox economics and mathematics (on which I commented yesterday). Tom Palley writes:
(1) Pretty much everything Smith charges heterodox economics with can be said about orthodox economics. That’s OK, but in that case we should open the classroom and op-ed pages to a variety of points of view and abandon the neoclassical monopoly.
(2) Smith’s views on mathematical models come close to fetishism. Models have use value but they do not define economics (think of a paper with just math and no words vs. a paper with just words), and models are easily pushed into the realm of “negative” marginal returns.
Furthermore, Smith appears ignorant of the fact that mathematical modelling is very widespread in heterodox economics.
(3) Smith’s comments about predicting the crisis are facile. It’s not about predicting “dates”, but about having a sense of imminent developments and a sense of the deep-seated nature of the problems (i.e. demand shortage, income inequality, financial fragility, and tendency to stagnation). If orthodoxy had anticipated a fraction of what heterodoxy has, it would be trumpeting its achievements.
(4) In sum, this is an ill-informed article that aims to defend the economics status quo with unwarranted claims about the weaknesses of heterodox economics and strengths of orthodox economics.