Home > Uncategorized > Learning to think like an economist

Learning to think like an economist

from Lars Syll

thinklikemeIt takes some courage, maturity, and perception for the self-discovery that one is engaged in a fraudulent enterprise … Our teachers never talked about ideologies or the larger issues, and seemed content with discussing arcane mathematics — DELIBERATE deception involves knowing the truth and then using lies to hide it.This does not seem to be the modus operandi. Rather, after the initial discomfort of swallowing certain absurd framing ideas wears off, one learns to believe these lies. Much like the experiments with reversing glasses, those who wear them are disoriented at first because the glasses turn the world upside down. However, after a little while the mind adjusts and re-interprets the world so that the upside down image becomes right side up. Then, if they take the glasses off, the world appears upside down. This is what is meant by “learning to think like an economist.”

Asad Zaman

  1. Risk Analyst
    April 20, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    I agree with the sentiment. In my first of several colleges, I recall spending hours in a tiny cubicle either in the dorms or library reading over ISLM analysis and neoclassical demand and supply equations, while in the back of my mind a little voice was saying, “this makes no sense…..this makes no sense….this makes no sense….” When watching a documentary of fundamentalist schools in the middle east showing kids sitting cross-legged around a low table reading and re-reading religious books and bobbing their heads up and down, I had a flash back to my university studies. It was not a place to find the truth, but to be indoctrinated into a way of thought.

  2. April 21, 2017 at 12:03 am

    In my view one could substitute just about ANY other words for the ones in the essay ‘mathematics’ and ‘economist’.

    if you practice ‘arcane math’then you think like an ‘economist’
    arcane excercizes ‘athlete’
    ” rituals spiritual person
    ” musical scales musician
    ” arcane plant and animal identitication naturalist
    ” other rituals obsessive compulsive disordered person

    Did i leave anything or anyone out?

    The 5 factor model of personality has similarily 5 dimensions. People are classified by type—where they fit in this 5 dimsnsional euclidean space.

    (like my city is classified into 4 types in a 2 dimensional space—8 wards –a squarish triabngole cult into 4 parts (designerd by an african american architect in 1700’s i think–banneker) (i live in ward 4—ward 3 average household income is around 180g$/yr, ward 8 is like 25$g, mine is is around 45g$. i grew up i 1–was about 35-45 G/yr a few years ago tho rapidly increasing–might even be 60’s or 80’s now .

    (physics can explian this if you want–it can also explainn why ward 1 is like 96% non-black, and ward 8 is like 95% black, and why there are maybe 10 homciides last year in ward 1 and maybe 75 in ward 8 and maybe 15-30 in mine (particular areas–my block has 24 hr police surveillance, probably watching me–they can smell the science and math and music.)
    . Physics explains this as ‘ miracles ‘ also called the ‘law of large numbers’ or central limit theorem, or as a maximum entropy distribution under constraints—-(to be realistic you have to maximize the nonequilblibrium or relative entropy (or maximum power or any of maybe 25 different names for closely related mathematical concepts all related to entropy/information.
    its a minor industry inventing new ntropies for the last 150 years–and i hypothesize that most people cannot even really define any of them except in a genral sense, and in general if they know the math math ones they know Boltzmann’s form—on his grave — S= k ln W (or omega) but they dont know what that means (but are sure they do). .
    I was just reading a long discussion by someone of that formula —they were proposing basically that almost everyone who discussed that formula since written in 1800’s was wrong, and ther proper term is ‘information’. (This argument has been going on for years.—these people basdically have never read any papaers in stat mech where its cleared up; they just read philosophy.

    Of course, I might say the conesus about this confusion was really only cleared up in very clear way in the 60’s–at least those were dates of papers i read but likely some exist beofre but most couldnt read them (eg by von Neumann, Weiner, etc. Even the great Indian Chandrasker who is credited in part with ‘disvocering’ or inventing black holes in cosmology (found em in the equations) in his classic 1954 review in Rev Mod Phys (hundreds of pages) got it wrong as soon as left the simplest case (which he discussed for 95% of the review. .
    (For me Gibbs, boltzmann, zermelo, poincare etc were unclear on this).

    I took the persionalityn quiz recently. Basically they determiner your position in each personality dimension (eg people (perhaps like me who are very desnsitive to detail or something such as spelling get a 10, other people who cant spell get 0.
    Then you usen each of your 5 coordinates to place you in the hypercube. They have ;’countries’ or ‘neighborhoods’ (like i live in ward 4 but in a particular neighborhood between the rich area and the ‘extreme ghetto part–each 2 blocks from me. (i have a sort of little ‘inholding’ or ‘poverty pocket’ –our building can crash the whole agve income of this area (which is even further subdivided into police patrol areas etc. ).

    My psychology quiz said my personality is a ‘logician’. i remember I wanted to take a grad course in matheamtical logic (since i basically had done all the undergrad science stuff) but they didnt offer it so i took a grad course in number theory—that is ‘hard core’ way beyond most mathematical physics–esopecially conceptually. In physics you can at leazst try to hang your abstractions onto some sort of picture or obect; a few people in number theory do that, but the ones i knew were like Ramanujan—just looked at patterns in equations–didnt care if they applied to anything–like abstract art.
    Wrong choice for—especially vbecause you learn all this formalism and such, and thebn at the end they say ‘you have to do a final projetc which is write a computer program to solve this equations (in my case the Dedekind zeta function, similar to Reimann) since you cant solve them by hand.
    the whole reason i got into math/logic ios to get away from copmuter simulations—my field had turn ed into computer programming . no math really.

    My view was you better find me a prohject i can do with pencil and paper or forget about it.

    They are basically traininng people to be numvber cruchers/computer scientists who work bnearby at NSA doig electronic surveillance (half Math phDs end up in m ilitary i think—even Hugh Everett of many-worklds theory did).

    By most standards i dont think like a scientist or mathematician because one could say i have ‘heterodox’ interests.
    And actually i dont really care if any of my theories have any applicability–i lost my last job workibng on DNA/molecular biology hecause i absicallly refused to write programs /models for ‘drug deveklopment’—instead i showed them how ojne could this problem into a version of Godel’s incompleteness theorem,so there is no reason to develop anything. Besides we dont need all these drugs—most of which are used to treat people overdosing on drugs or food because they can’t find anything interestin g to do besides eat and get high. Never heard of math logic, science, nature, etc.

    My area has a local park group which likes to inftroduce people to the park. There idea for that is mostly ‘come on down and pick up trash ‘ They have typci9ally zero interets in nature and limely would kick all the plants and animnals out of there if they could because they are lazy and dont help clean the park. A few employed park people do like and know nature—but their job is to keep the park clean. Its a chore to deal with people, but thats how you get opaid—they can’t wait for people to leave so they can enjoy the park.

    . Thats thibnking like a hnaturalist.

  3. charlie
    April 21, 2017 at 1:14 am

    thanks Mart M … sometimes I feel about like that too … chemist linguist forester ecologist computer nerd now i herd cows and look into land rights to be respected and not exploited
    amen

  4. April 22, 2017 at 6:31 am

    One item humans struggle about constantly and through all of history is “who am I?” Since humans have no innate “I;” only a “we,” humans create an “I” that reflects the culture in which each lives and the relationships in which each is involved. The identity “economist” is just one possible among many. And since “I’s” come and go, it’s not difficult to have economist go. How about we work on ending economist as an option?

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