Home > Uncategorized > The biggest problem in science

The biggest problem in science

from Lars Syll

There’s a huge debate going on in social science right now. The question is simple, and strikes near the heart of all research: What counts as solid evidence? …

null-hypothesis1Prominent statisticians, psychologists, economists, sociologists, political scientists, biomedical researchers, and others … argue that results should only be deemed “statistically significant” if they pass a higher threshold.

“We propose a change to P< 0.005,” the authors write. “This simple step would immediately improve the reproducibility of scientific research in many fields” …

There’s a critique of the proposal the authors whom I spoke to agree completely with: Changing the definition of statistical significance doesn’t address the real problem. And the real problem is the culture of science.

In 2016, Vox sent out a survey to more than 200 scientists, asking, “If you could change one thing about how science works today, what would it be and why?” One of the clear themes in the responses: The institutions of science need to get better at rewarding failure.

One young scientist told us, “I feel torn between asking questions that I know will lead to statistical significance and asking questions that matter.”

The biggest problem in science isn’t statistical significance. It’s the culture. She felt torn because young scientists need publications to get jobs. Under the status quo, in order to get publications, you need statistically significant results. Statistical significance alone didn’t lead to the replication crisis. The institutions of science incentivized the behaviors that allowed it to fester.

Brian Resnick 

ad11As shown over and over again when significance tests are applied, people have a tendency to read ‘not disconfirmed’ as ‘probably confirmed.’ Standard scientific methodology tells us that when there is only say a 10 % probability that pure sampling error could account for the observed difference between the data and the null hypothesis, it would be more ‘reasonable’ to conclude that we have a case of disconfirmation. Especially if we perform many independent tests of our hypothesis and they all give about the same 10 % result as our reported one, I guess most researchers would count the hypothesis as even more disconfirmed.

We should never forget that the underlying parameters we use when performing significance tests are model constructions. Our p-values mean nothing if the model is wrong. And most importantly — statistical significance tests DO NOT validate models!

statistical-models-sdl609573791-1-42fd0In journal articles a typical regression equation will have an intercept and several explanatory variables. The regression output will usually include an F-test, with p – 1 degrees of freedom in the numerator and n – p in the denominator. The null hypothesis will not be stated. The missing null hypothesis is that all the coefficients vanish, except the intercept.

If F is significant, that is often thought to validate the model. Mistake. The F-test takes the model as given. Significance only means this: if the model is right and the coefficients are 0, it is very unlikely to get such a big F-statistic. Logically, there are three possibilities on the table:
i) An unlikely event occurred.
ii) Or the model is right and some of the coefficients differ from 0.
iii) Or the model is wrong.
So?

  1. Mike Ryan
    July 30, 2019 at 10:41 pm

    Lars – wake up. Econ is not a science. It pretends to be a science while it delivers glamorous theories about capitalism. Some might call this propaganda or thought control. Specific goals were developed during the red scare…

    Opportunity costs – hides profits from workers
    Externalities – relieves business of any moral responsibility to clean up their mess.
    Labor Unions – nothing more that market distortions. Egad can’t have any of that
    Profit Maximization – silly exercises with stupid curves that mean nothing – but clearly it is ok to maximize profits as markets will make sure workers get their fare share.

    What a bunch of junk…

  2. July 30, 2019 at 11:54 pm

    It’s all lies, Mike. The whole mainstream edifice is a con, designed deliberately to benefit the wealthy, those who fund university research and political parties have all an axe to grind. It doesn’t help that students are being misled and taught that models with statistical input, designed to make economics impenetrable, that hoodwink them and they get to believe its gospel. MMT not being a model and not needing statistical formulae and complications, is the antidote, something people like me can understand. Bill Mitchell does use formulae and such, but his motivation is to show that MMT can match the mainstream if it wished, that he is not an amateur from outside the profession.

  3. Yoshinori Shiozawa
    July 31, 2019 at 1:58 am

    This blog is attracting all those who are emotionally frustrated in the actual economy and economics. This is a dangerous symptom.

    Lars Syll is partly responsible with this situation. He repeatedly denounced the mainstream economics. He is right in this sheer aspect, but he did not (perhaps intentionally) present any possible directions except negation of some methodology. To denounce mathematics is one of his favorite examples. The result is the gathering of people who do not understand even the elements of mathematics (and physics) and hate it only because they could not understand it or were tortured by it. See all vagaries we read in comments to posts
    https://rwer.wordpress.com/2019/07/29/bringing-science-into-economics-must-necessarily-entail-measurements-in-the-scientific-units/
    https://rwer.wordpress.com/2019/07/23/the-new-minds-of-young-people-will-be-open-to-the-new-empirical-evidence/
    Comments on the latter count more than 70. Participants are enthusiastic to their topics but they are repeating Babylonian discourses.

    It is necessary to change the topic. In science, facts, concepts and scheme are more important than methods. The latter exists to check the former. Now everybody talks about his or her idea about method, but there is no arguments on the contents, no reflections on how economy works. If the present mainstream economics is wrong (I believe so), it is necessary to talk about alternatives.

    There is various alternatives. For an example, I am presenting one. See my comments on
    https://rwer.wordpress.com/2019/07/29/arrow-debreu-and-the-bourbaki-illusion-of-rigour/

    There are to date no approbation and no objection on what I am proposing. I wonder why.

    • Frank Salter
      July 31, 2019 at 11:48 am

      I am completely in approval of what you have said. It is only through directed critical discussion of hypotheses and the empirical evidence will progress be made. It is specific and continuing engagement which is required.

    • Yoshinori Shiozawa
      July 31, 2019 at 12:57 pm

      Thank you, Frank. Frustration does not improve economics. Methodology alone without contents is like arguing the taste of pudding without eating it.

      It is necessary to change the line and start economics in its contents.

      • Yoshinori Shiozawa
        August 18, 2019 at 11:16 am

        For all intents and purposes there is not much use to attack standard economics because deep in his heart the representative economist long knows that he is tied to a degenerating research program (see for example Hahn, 1981, p. 1036). The problem is, rather, that it seems to be exceedingly difficult to build up a convincing alternative. (Egmont Kakarot-Handtke 2014 The Truly General Theory of Employment: How Keynes Could Have Succeeded. MPRA Paper No. 54367, p.2)

      • Ken Zimmerman
        August 18, 2019 at 2:47 pm

        The single problem that impedes economics becoming a useful social science is that most of its practitioners want to be believe they are physicists. And want to make economics just like physics in theory and methods. Physics had the same problem for over 200 years. The eternal and never changing voice of the universe (or God based on one’s beginning point) spoke to physicists and physicists conveyed the word to us dumb mortals. Now only economists speak with God and convey the word to us dumb mortals.

    • Rob
      July 31, 2019 at 2:09 pm

      Arrow’s prize-partner John Hicks (another high theorist) dismissed the idea of economics as a science ‘Our science colleagues find permanent truths; economists, who deal with the daily actions of men and the consequences of these, can rarely hope to find the same permanency.’ In his 1974 Nobel Lecture, Friedrich von Hayek denied that economics could meet the standards of science. (The Nobel Factor The Prize in Economics, Social Democracy, and the Market Turn by Avner Offer, Gabriel Söderberg, 2016, 60)
      .
      [Hayek’s] criterion of scientific validity was Popper’s falsification. The Nobel Prize for economic science did not live up to it, and risked a descent into ‘scientism’, the mere pretence of scientific certainty. Hayek did not advocate better science—economics could never be a science, because its core variables could not be observed. It was better to be vaguely right than precisely wrong, he stated (although in different words), a view often attributed to his rival Keynes. Economics was indeterminate, like biology or gardening. True knowledge was innate, and could not be confirmed scientifically by observation. (The Nobel Factor The Prize in Economics, Social Democracy, and the Market Turn by Avner Offer, Gabriel Söderberg, 2016, 60)
      .
      Gunnar Myrdal (NPW, 1974) … [r]ather like Hayek (his ideological opponent) he stated that economics could not be a science, since its data were human attitudes and behaviour, whose causes are evolving and inaccessible. Economics could never identify constants or what in former times were called ‘laws of nature’. Economists were as unlike astronomers as was possible. The other reason to distrust economics (on which Myrdal had written with authority some decades before) was that it was shot through with values, and could not avoid taking a view about proper ends. ‘[Economists] keep silent about the role of values in research. They regularly assume that there is a solid body of theories and facts, established without implying value premises, from which policy conclusions can then also be drawn.’ (The Nobel Factor The Prize in Economics, Social Democracy, and the Market Turn, Avner Offer, Gabriel Söderberg, 2016, 61)
      .
      Hayek had it right ‘to entrust to science … more than scientific method can achieve may have deplorable effects’. Joseph Schumpeter (an NPW-level economist born too soon), wrote, Unsatisfactory [empirical] performance has always been and still is accompanied [in economics] by unjustified claims, and especially by irresponsible applications to practical problems that were and are beyond the powers of the contemporaneous analytic apparatus. (The Nobel Factor The Prize in Economics, Social Democracy, and the Market Turn, Avner Offer, Gabriel Söderberg, 2016, 65-66)
      .
      Academic evidence might be inconclusive, but reality is not. As Gunnar Myrdal said, ‘facts kick’. Bad theory makes bad policy, and when reality does not comply, it often has to be coerced. Bad theory is itself a means of coercion In the Soviet Union, it provided justification for the gulag; in the ‘free market’ United States, for its own massive gulag, a prison system larger in proportion than in any other country, fed by a labour market with frayed safety nets, and managed for profit. The Nobel Prize in economics (as we shall see) was an afterthought, a whimsy almost, of a modern central bank. Monetary doctrine between the wars, which gave rise to modern central banking, also gave rise to depression, unemployment, inequality, and ultimately to a second world war. Good economic theory (in the same years), went some way to fix the harm. (The Nobel Factor The Prize in Economics, Social Democracy, and the Market Turn, Avner Offer, Gabriel Söderberg, 2016, 66-67)

      .
      The list of quotes of economists saying similar things goes on almost endlessly. Asad Zaman has cataloged one far longer than the one above.
      .
      While working as a Computer Scientist and Software Engineer for over 30 years, both in Microsoft and in my own corporation, I have had many occasions to to use math. Computer Science is chock full of math. Yet I have never ran into someone so full of mathematical hubris as Yoshinori and Salter, who both repeatedly, when the papers are not given the proper attention they think they deserve, periodically come on this forum and spew the old canard and ad hominem no one understands math. It’s getting a bit old.
      .
      Yoshinori gas it backwards. Lar’s criticism grows stronger day by day because it is true. Yoshinori’s claim that current empirically proven false economic theory is “good enough” (here) grows weaker day by day. The younger generation isn’t going to be suckered into buying this theory first claptrap while their lives are ruined by such lame excuses for business as usual. One is rooted in reality and can be lived (facts kick) while the other is the self-deluded scientism that reveals disdain for human values (quality) and in the end cannot be lived with due its costing lives, jobs, and perhaps even world peace as nation states increasing engage in economic competition (economic warfare?) at the expense of cooperation.

      • Yoshinori Shiozawa
        July 31, 2019 at 4:47 pm

        Rob,

        what you say reveals that you cannot differentiate mainstream economics and other heterodox economics. My or our theory is one of the latter.

      • Rob
        August 18, 2019 at 11:35 am

        Do you realize how arrogant you sound when you say things like that? Second thought, of course you don’t, for you have truly proven yourself to be on this forum the archetypal definition of 知ったかぶり.

      • Rob
        August 20, 2019 at 3:44 am

        Your presupposition is that the application of the methods of natural science is the yardstick for social science. This is scientism.

      • Rob
        August 20, 2019 at 4:06 am

        Your presupposition is that the application of the methods of natural science is the yardstick for social science. This is scientism. (Robert Delorme, A Cognitive Behavioral Modelling for Coping with Intractable Complex Phenomena in Economics and Social Science. In Economic Philosophy: Complexity in Economics, WEA Conference.)
        .
        So in short, if the only common and so distinguishing feature of the current mainstream is its continuing insistence upon forms of mathematical-deductivist reasoning, the real essence of the heterodox opposition (qua heterodox opposition) is an accepted (but rarely explicitly acknowledged) ontological conception. It is a conception that is at odds with the implicit (closed-system and atomistic) ontology of mainstream deductivist reasoning, and so ultimately accounting for the heterodox oppositional stance. (Lawson 209, 95, in Fullbrook (2009) Ontology and Economics.)
        .
        For many modern economists, in fact, mathematical deductive reasoning is regarded as essential to science. It follows, for this group, that to relax the existing emphasis on mathematical methods is effectively to give up on the possibility of economics as science. .
        One reasonable response to this line of reasoning is to question why economics has to be a science. Many critics indeed have rejected the possibility of economics as science. But in fact this is not my orientation. To the contrary, my concern is more with the recovery of economics as science. Ontology helps us better understand the nature of science, and, as we shall see, to appreciate that mathematics is not essential to it. To suppose that scientific practice reduces to, or even necessitates, mathematical formalism is once more erroneously to universalise a priori a special case (in this case a particular form of scientific practice) as we shall see in due course. (2003, pp. xx–xxi) (Lawson 2009, 225-226, in Fullbrook (2009) Ontology and Economics.)

        .
        You have made it amply clear on this forum that you hold that “scientific practice reduces to … even necessitates, mathematical formalism … a priori.” You have repeatedly attacked Lars as misleading and harming the field of economics. You revealed your deepest fear in a personal communication:
        .

        What is at the stake is the whole structure of a discipline. Can you imagine such a thing in geology or geophysics? It is something similar to replacing modern physics by another. Probably you cannot understand the real issue of economics. (Yoshinori Shiozawa, 2/5/2018, Personal Communication, emphasis added.)

        .
        You are clearly think the sky is falling. Narrative pluralism threatens your very core beliefs about what science is, and what methodologies are appropriate to being doing science. Delorme is right, your “presupposition is that the application of the methods of natural science is the yardstick for social science” is scientism and in my view, places you exactly in the world-view held by mainstream economists. Just because you babble about complexity, etc., doesn’t make you are heterodox economist. No wonder you are so terribly frustrated.

    • Rob
      August 21, 2019 at 2:55 am

      What is at the stake is the whole structure of a discipline. Can you imagine such a thing in geology or geophysics? It is something similar to replacing modern physics by another. Probably you cannot understand the real issue of economics (Yoshinori Shiozawa, 2/5/2018, Personal Communication)
      .
      This blog is attracting all those who are emotionally frustrated in the actual economy and economics. This is a dangerous symptom. (Yoshinori Shiozawa, RWER, The Biggest Problem in Science, 7/31/2019)
      .
      Arguments do not always wear their true purpose on their face, nor are [we] required to take them at face value. (Martha Nussbaum (2008, 343-344) in Liberty of Conscience)

      .
      A Case of Psychological Projection aka Pre-Logical Argumentum
      .
      It appears that subtle science of logic escapes Yoshinori in his pre-logical fallacy above. Any clear thinking and reflective person understands perfectly well that the sky is not falling and what Yoshinori is doing above; he is engaging in, to use his own rhetoric, pre-Freudian unconscious psychological projection of his own deepest illogical fears upon others and then couching such projections in pseudo-intellectual sophistry and nonsense (たわごと). Yoshinori is revealing he lacks self-awareness of his own state of mind and behavior, projecting onto others his own confused and flustered state of mind (慌てふためく), his own frustration and worry (はらはらする). Probably he cannot understand the real nature of what he is doing.

  4. Rob
    July 31, 2019 at 6:11 am

    I don’t know whether economics is a science in any sense of the term or not. I just don’t have enough clarity at this point.

    At best it may be a social science, at worst a pseudo-science supporting a form of capitalism that is simply not sustainable.

    What seems clear is that it is the tail wagging the dog, and this just won’t do given the civilizational crisis humanity is facing today.

    What is clear is that capitalism has failed to sufficiently resolve the negative “externalities” it creates, harming both communities and the ecosystem. Short-termism has taken over much of Western capitalism and it is killing us.

    Capitalism under the Mainstream Economic paradigm lifts a tiny number of boats at the expense of the majority. Worse, there has been a decoupling of productivity gains and social well being (wages, healthcare, etc.). And technology is only making it worse (AI, automation, etc.) leading to further emerging technological unemployment.

    Whether in is laid off or turned into a precarious contingent worker (the so-called “sharing” economy is anything but sharing, as recent revelations make clear.

    So where does that leave us? Well, frankly, I don’t know. But I am seeing glimmers of hope in human creativity being able to transform capitalism such that it serves human needs opposed to be superficial wants and top heavy luxury.

    I am an entrepreneur by career and mindset, and I have faith in the human spirit to rise up to this challenge. I think it is going to take a new form of capitalism — a new economy — that places people and community and social reciprocity at it’s center rather than price comparison. Cheaper isn’t always better, especially when community sustainability is indubitably sacrificed to get “things” cheaper.

    Localism — self-sustaining economic communities–are I believe, one promising way forward. Degrowth is another that must be seriously considered.

    We do it in our families every day. We need to expand the scope of the values and meanings that sustain a healthy living family and bring that back into economics, it seems, in my limited view.

  5. Yoshinori Shiozawa
    July 31, 2019 at 1:07 pm

    Is this really the biggest problem? When modern science emerged as physics of Galilei, Kepler and Newton, who cared about null hypothesis and significance test? Methodology evolves as the science evolves. Evolution of a science is not the growth of methodology argument. Science grows with contents which is expressed by the concrete propositions.

    Methodology without contents only encourages vagaries of untrained people.

    • Rob
      July 31, 2019 at 2:01 pm

      A blast from the WEA Conference past ;-)
      .
      Sausages taste good to the casual observer, but if one looks behind the screen and views how the sausage is made (real behavior of Yoshinori) one sees some problems (beside engaging in ad hominem).
      .
      Observer carefully how Yoshinori, on the WEA forum, engages in self-serving ahistorical nonsense, patiently being tolerated until finally, Robert Delorme has had enough.
      .
      @Moderator: How long will Yoshinori be allowed to come on this forum and like a spoiled child, accuse, arrogantly I might add, others of not knowing math, so he can engage in nasty polemics just because his self-serving paper doesn’t get the attention he things it deserves. It degrades the contents of this blog.

      • Frank Salter
        July 31, 2019 at 3:14 pm

        Unfortunately Rob, you betray a lack of a proper understanding of “ad hominem”.

        Wiktionary definition:
        A fallacious objection to an argument or factual claim by appealing to a characteristic or belief of the person making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim; an attempt to argue against an opponent’s idea by discrediting the opponent himself.

        You might test your comments against that statement.

      • Rob
        July 31, 2019 at 9:57 pm

        Frank, the ludicrous claim you have repeatedly made (and I have saved for the record every one of them you have made on this forum) that your paper is not getting the attention you think it deserves by Lars or anyone else is because they “don’t know math” is categorically false.
        .
        So, like a spoiled child, when you don’t get the attention you want, you excuse your incessent special pleading by accusing others of “not knowing math.”
        .
        Of course, the arguments Lars are making about the short-comings and failure of economic theory have been reflected for many, over generations, who are mathematically competent as anyone (including you).
        .
        Take Kate Raworth, as one example. She makes the same arguments essentially as Lars. She went through the same mathematical training as any other modern economist. Are you going to accuse her of not knowing the math like you regularly do everyone on this forum? Your really think Raworth and Lars doesn’t know calculas?
        .
        Your special pleading is ridiculous. It raises questions in itself. If you have found the holy grail of economics they why don’t you take it the mainstream economists and enlighten them, rather than whining in the comment section of a blog like RWER? You act like a troll in that you don’t contribute anything positive except to whine that “nobody knows math” and “nobody will engage” your Nobel worthy paper, in one comment even impling you deserved a Nobel Prize.
        .
        It is pathetic that all you can do is troll posts on this forum and repost the same blurb over and over punctuated by periodic outbursts that nobody knows math. That is what the history of your posts on this forum largerly reveal.
        .
        Frank, it is not the role of those who follow this blog, come here to learn, to review your paper. And each and every time I have observed someone do so, and actually ask you substantive questions, you dismiss them, minimize or ignore them. So I see the nature of you so called desire to address the “substance of the argument” (translation, “if you don’t understand my paper the way I do and recognize its ABSOLUTE TRUTH you are the problem”). Perhaps that is why Lars and other authors on this blog ignore you Frank? Because they understand how fruitless it will be.
        .
        RWER gave you a forum to post your paper. That is all they owed you. If Lars and othe authors who contribute to this blog don’t engage you, perhaps you ought to look elsewhere for engagement?

      • Frank Salter
        August 1, 2019 at 7:57 am

        Again Rob, You exaggerate to the extent there is little in what you say. I have not said anything about who knows sufficient maths. I have reported that a number of people who have read it have said the mathematics was beyond them. Your assertion that I will not engage with critical appraisal is false to fact.

        I do say that my paper is the only one that is not-invalidated by the quality calculus and the empirical evidence. If you are so sure that I am wrong please show me and everyone else what is wrong. I have challenged you on this many times and you have never answered. I only expect your constant “it can not be true” to continue. Engagement means critical analysis which signally fail to do. If I am wrong show me and everyone else where! You will NOT be able to do this. The mathematics is valid. So if you know mathematics as you claim and I am wrong then you will be able to do so.

      • Rob
        August 1, 2019 at 8:11 am

        You have shown by your actions Salter you are not about engagement in any meaningful sense of the term. As evidence of the pattern of your behavior on this forum we only need look at your resonse to Dave Marsay:
        .

        Frank, I agree with you (who wouldn’t) that many ‘putative quantative’ papers can easily be seen to be in error from a quantity calculus perspective, but to fix them you would seem to need a quantitative theory of uncertainty. This seems to me very much an open issue. I, for one, would attempt to engage constructively with a quantity calculus view of financial crises. Can you suggest anything? ~ Dave Marsay, RWER, 4/15/2019

        .
        Dave’s question about a “quantitative theory of uncertainty” and the financial crisis is a legitimate one. It is really simple, any theory that cannot speak to the most significant economic event in our’s and our children’s generation is bankrupt, empty, vacuuous, in terms impacting the real wold.
        .
        Your response was as expected and very typical for you, and very telling regardin the nature of your so-called “scientific” paper:

        I am not well versed in financial crises. I therefore need to pass on that. [Followed by yadda, yadda, yadda, more of the same old intellectual parroting you bless this blog with regrularly.] ~ Frank Salter

        .

      • F
        August 1, 2019 at 8:00 am

        Correction, first sentence of the third paragraph should read:
        Engagement means critical analysis which you signally fail to do.

      • Rob
        August 1, 2019 at 8:44 am

        Continuation of above (premature posting ;-) …
        .
        Dave Marsay asked a relevant question about what authors on this blog call “radical uncertainty,” and you revealed you have no answer. Your so-called scientific paper is utterly mute to address real world problems, which is of course the reality of mainstream economics’ (ME) mathematical models based on unrealistic assumptions. You are no different than ME in that regards.
        .
        You claim your analysis predicts production output from zero to infinity. But it is mute before the real factors that determine how much output a manufacturing firm produces, like a global financial crisis, which has a far greater impact on production than labor and capital. In reality your predictions are a fiction, a mathematical chimera, divorced from real world outcomes. Another example would be Trump’s trade war, another case of radical uncertainly injected into socio-economic systems that your analysis is helpless to address.
        .

        In view of the challenges faced, it is perhaps not enough to discuss options with respect to economics paradigm and ideology. Also our ideas about good science may need to be reconsidered or expanded. At the first conference with the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE) in Washington D.C., Silvio Funtowicz and Jerome Ravetz (1991) argued that “normal science” was not enough to deal with the problems faced…. Funtovicz and Ravetz pointed to the complexity and fuzziness of problems and the limits to our knowledge. Uncertainty has to be taken seriously as well as “ignorance”, the fact that some uncertainty is irreducible. Our knowledge is often tentative and fragmentary; impacts are sometimes better understood in qualitative and visual terms than quantitatively. Logically closed models do not tell the whole story. It is therefore a wise research policy to bring in issues of paradigm and ideology as previously discussed. (Soderbaum 2018, 25)
        .
        Fuzzy problems suggest another reason to depart from extreme technocracy. The economist should be less pretentious in analysis and conclusions. We need to accept some diversity in approaches. Diversity among heterodox approaches as presented for example in Tanja von EganKrieger’s previously mentioned study (2014) should not be seen as a weakness but rather strength. Where neoclassical economists tend to see standardization of the economics profession as ideal (with universities producing “economists as homogenous commodities”), the diversity idea suggests that there should be some room for heterogeneity, for example in terms of experiences, engagement, personality and ideological orientation. The existence of more than one school of thought in economics and varieties within each school should not only reluctantly be accepted. It will tell us about the maturity of economics as a science. (Soderbaum 2018, 26)

        .
        Evidence shows irrefutably that your paper is nothing more than deductive mathematical modelling. Put your data where you pretentious mouth is Frank, and make your primary source data available and answer questions when they are put before you rather than engage in side-stepping and evasive appeals to pseudo-scientific fetish terminology as you regularly do.
        .
        Question: Which real life firms did you empirically test your model (yet you ludicrously claim you don’t model, so are engaging in modeless modeling!) against in a real business context? You claim you can predict the outcomes of production after, all, so put you evidence up for everyone to see.
        .
        I won’t hold my breadth because I don’t believe you will. You don’t want engagement, you want ego stroking, recognition, and applause.

      • Frank Salter
        August 1, 2019 at 10:08 am

        Rob, you side step the critical question of the quantity calculus and the empirical evidence not invalidating my analysis. You introduce irrelevant questions. My analysis is abstract production theory, nothing more. So your demand to provide a theory of everything is ridiculous.

        There no NO model in my paper. If you can find one, do so. Go and look up the more than 1.7 million other true scientific analyses who also say they have no model. You allow your ignorance to control your assertions. By the way I spent some twenty years research creating mathematical models. I know the difference between first principles analysis and mathematical modelling. Clearly you do NOT.

        The evidence you are requesting is quoted in my paper. So read it. The straw men you set up to knock are only in your mind.

        To reiterate. You say my analysis is wrong but continually fail to show where you believe it to be in error. The only conclusion must be that you can not. So you continue in the same old irrelevant manner. You will NOT deal with specifics. That is how science has advanced but you seem incapable of doing the same.

      • Rob
        August 1, 2019 at 10:37 am

        Just as I thought. Pretentious Frank has no real-world empirical data despite his barraging this blog endlessly with claims it is empirically proven true. The emperor has no cloths.

      • Frank Salter
        August 1, 2019 at 11:15 am

        I have NOT personally collected empirical data. I cite all the sources of the empirical data I used in my paper.

        Why with certainty you exude that I am wrong have you been unable to demonstrate a single example that I am.

        You have produced no evidence that I am wrong. You merely shouted louder that I must be. You have ignored my challenge to demonstrate any error. I have shown what real challenges you claim are in fact wrong.
        Just as I predicted a the beginning of these exchange. That you would not be able to demonstrate any error on my part. I conclude that it a sore point with you that you do NOT understand the mathematics. You could consult a mathematician.

      • Rob
        August 1, 2019 at 11:26 am

        Thanks Frank, your words above, when placed to your incessant pretentious prior claims about the need for empirical testable science will speak for themselves just fine 😁

      • Rob
        August 1, 2019 at 11:27 am

        When placed next to ..

      • Frank Salter
        August 1, 2019 at 11:31 am

        QED

      • Robert Locke
        August 21, 2019 at 10:14 am

        “A fallacious objection to an argument or factual claim by appealing to a characteristic or belief of the person making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance”

        Why fallacious, Frank. Historians never deal with the substance but with the people involved. Thus when I first looked at those opposing the mathematization of eonomics, it did not surprise me that people trained in literary economics opposed the mathematidians; but when I discovered that a mathemarician of the calibre of von Neuman did, and that people in operations research, e.g. Ackoff, did, I took notice. I once met a professor of mathematics on a train, who taught mathematics to engineering students at the University of Alabama. He told me that engineers did not understand mathematids. Follow the people not the substance, especially when economists are not smarter in their discussions of mathematics than engineers.

  6. Frank Salter
    July 31, 2019 at 3:16 pm

    I would say that in the physical sciences, there is virtually no significance testing. Error estimates using mean and standard distribution is usually the limit.

    Some one wrote a psychology paper pointing out that at the 5% confidence limit, 5% of papers were wrong.

  7. Craig
    July 31, 2019 at 5:30 pm

    These are all valid critiques of science, but the biggest problem of science is its orthodox mindset of abstraction. Hence it has an epistemology problem.

    Back before Bacon, Gallileo etc, metaphysics dominated and science arose out of that reality. Integrating science and metaphysics can result in the signature of wisdom and paradigm change, namely thirdness greater oneness of truths.

    Wisdom is the paramount/superior mental discipline, not science, which in its best form, is a subset of the mindset of wisdom.

  8. Rob
    August 1, 2019 at 1:25 am

    Human beings have been provisioning themselves since the dawn of civilization. It is it seems part of our evolutionary nature to want to “truck, barter, and trade.” Throughout the millenniums, despite world various world-wide catastrophes, the waxing and waning of empires, the rise and fall of civilizations, humankind has continued to provision themselves and in one form or another engage in exchange. Such natural evolutionary behavior needs no theory prior to acting. Humans adapt, one way or the other, by hook or crook. And regardless of whether or not modern economics has a theory-first they will continue to do the same.
    .
    The idea that Lars is somehow harming the cause of economics by not proposing a theory-first orientation by limiting his work to dismantling the erroneous mathematical assumptions found today in mainstream economics is misdirected, and when one looks closely at the history of Yoshinori’s posts on this forum, is bore out to be rather self-serving–i.e., self-promotion of his paper as the sine qua non of progress in economics as a science.
    .
    It essentially rests on the claim that if only the theory and its supporting mathematics is right economics could be as true a science as physics, that proper theory and mathematics is all that is needed, and that history is meaningless wishy washy soft stuff that doesn’t lead to any progress whatsoever or real meaningful insights into economics as a science. At different times on this blog Yoshinori has put forth arguments meant to show the fruitlessness of the heterodox attempt to use history as a guide to further progress, yet he himself as put forth distorted histories (e.g., WEA Forum comments) that hardly reflect the facts in an effort to bolster the claim his paper represents the truth of the real way forward to turn economics into a true science, and that the only way for economics to progress is to have a theory first backed by the correct mathematics (e.g., chaos theory, etc.) as embodied in his paper, a new theory, one that will put economics back on the right path to the nirvana of a proper social mathematics (minus he social of course).
    .
    It is reminiscent of Fisher’s comparative translation of physics to economics in which a particle is an individual, space a commodity, force a marginal utility (disutility), work a disutility, and so on building up a one-for-one analogy between physics and economics (Mirowski 1999, 224, More Heat Than Light: Economics as Social Physics, Physics as Nature’s Economics).
    .
    To discredit Mirowski’s thesis revealing the nature and evolution of the mathematizing of economics Yoshinori resorts to a false dichotomy characterizing science consisting of “externalists” (those outside science, such as historians, who don’t know the math or truly understand science) and the “internalists” (those on in who know the math and are the true scientists), writing, ” Mirowski (1989) is a history of economic thought written from an “externalist” view (Yoshinori, RWER, 3/18/2018).” Of course, this is nothing more than polemics meant to discount the role of historical inquiry and its usefulness within the any given field of science. And this polemic has a history itself which Yoshinori is blissfully unaware, like a fish swimming in the ocean pontificating on the harmful effects or uselessness of water on the science of swimming. It is grounded in the belief that science is value-free and that theoretical analysis progresses independent of human values, and in economics case, that mathematically modeling economic society is no different than mathematical modeling physics. But social phenomenon, individuals acting in society within social and political context generating economic outcomes are not machines, automatons, or as Lars expresses it, ”
    .
    Historically the externalist-internalist bipolar rhetoric (EIBR) dates to the 1930s going back to Bukharin and Hessen in the Soviet Union and were used as an instrument of rhetoric and political propaganda; more about dismissing truth from other domains of knowledge than about shedding light upon some specific domain. Slava Gerovitch (1996) in Perestroika of the History of Technology and Science in the USSR: Changes in the Discourse provides a history of EIBR that sheds light on the usage of these terms. Further insights are found in Ernest B. Hook (2002) in Prematurity in Scientific Discovery. John Henry (2008) in The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science notes “In fact, neither position seems to have been properly established as valid or viable.” Gerovitch and Hook are in agreement; there is a middle way, which both Gerovitch and Henry note; i.e., Gerovitch’s contextual history and Henry’s new eclectics. The Soviet history is illuminating as well as Hook’s analysis. It is not an either or in my view, but simply the recognition of the limitations (i.e., relevance and range of validity) of theoretical model building in relation to real-world outcomes and contextual histories.
    .
    In science, any theory or mathematical model operates within a specific context. The relevance and range of validity, the limitations, are frequently ignored, shunted away to obscure footnotes. Especially in today’s publish or perish culture where number of citations counts for progress and prestige. Instead, claims to universality are put forward with little critical examination. Yet, we know that mathematical tools are constrained by relevance and range of validity. To not explicitly define those limitations is problematic. One apropos example is Don S. Lemon’s (2017) has opening statement cautioning becoming bewitched with the power of a tool and failing to recognize its limits.

    • Rob
      August 1, 2019 at 1:32 am

      or as Lars expresses it, “nomological machine.” (Syll 2016, 39)

    • Yoshinori Shiozawa
      August 7, 2019 at 2:55 am

      A note on “internalist” versus “externalist.”

      I do not think that Mirrowski (1999) is a good book. He is understanding economics on superficial aspects. So I have criticized his book, but not on the reason that Rob understood. He wrote:

      To discredit Mirowski’s thesis revealing the nature and evolution of the mathematizing of economics Yoshinori resorts to a false dichotomy characterizing science consisting of “externalists” (those outside science, such as historians, who don’t know the math or truly understand science) and the “internalists” (those on in who know the math and are the true scientists), writing, ” Mirowski (1989) is a history of economic thought written from an “externalist” view (Yoshinori, RWER, 3/18/2018).”

      I am not using two words in this way. The terms “externalists” and “internalists” has already well defined meanings in the filed of history of science. Rob’s interpretation is a pure misunderstanding.

      • Rob
        August 7, 2019 at 12:59 pm

        You are a very poor scientist and a worse historian Yoshinori, and your exchange on the WEA forum bears this observation out. Mirrowski is a find book, and the only reason you cannot and must use false logic and pseudo-intellectual arguments is because you and those like you are a dying breed. Your blindness will not be accepted by the next generation as you indulge in mathematical masturbation at their expense.

      • Rob
        August 7, 2019 at 1:09 pm

        No, that is exactly how you used the terms “externalist” and “internalist,” a pseudo-intellectual argument meant to minimize and disregard historical insights that prove your fetishization of mathematics and theory first claptrap ignores the very real human needs that others, within the pluralist community, are addressing. You would disparage pluralism because you have a myopic, antiquated, and ahistorical view of science and its role. You think your role is to write $100 books that few will read while the heterodox community is largely devoted to reforming economics so it solves real-world human problems, like climate change, environmental degradation, rising inequality, etc., while you whine on this forum because you are paid enough deference for your accomplishments in mathematical masturbation. You are an emperor with no cloths playing with yourself in public, but to bind to even be embarrassed.
        .
        My children and their friends and their friend’s friends (and their professor too!) are listening to Pitchfork Economics while you whine on an insignificant comment section of a rather obscure forum that Lars is performing a disservice by exposing the misuse of mathematics in economics all the while engaging in the same misuse of mathematics as the expense of weightier and more important issues.

    • Rob
      August 7, 2019 at 1:26 pm

      Scientists and historians can cite many cases of scientific and technological claims, hypotheses, and proposals that, viewed in retrospect, have apparently taken an unaccountably long time to be recognized, endorsed, or integrated into accepted knowledge and practice. Indeed, some have had to await independent formulation. (Hook 2002, 3)

      (…) Resistance and Rejection
      .
      One may classify at least five grounds on which scientific claims or hypotheses–even those later achieving widespread recognition or endorsement–may be rejected at first offering. In addition to prematurity …, investigators may reject or choose to not follow up on a scientific report or hypothesis because (1) they are unaware of it, (2) having reviewed it, they judge it to be of no immediate relevance to their current work and therefore ignore it, (3) they harbor inappropriate prejudice against some aspect of the claim or its proponent, or (4) it appears to clash directly with their observation or experience. (Hook 2002, 4)
      .
      (….) Less readily overcome obstruction may stem from strong social forces–religious, ideological, political, and economic–that lead to challenge, rejection, or suppression. In practice, the only remedy may be to seek expression and circulation of the unrecognized, inhibited, or suppression ideas, proposals, and interventions in areas and social climates where the prohibitive factors do not reign. But in principle, in an enlightened society one may suggest some goals, some general social solutions to overcome the barriers. As obvious as they may be, I believe it worthwhile to list some of them: limitation of economic suppression of new inventions or useful technology, encouragement of ideological tolerance, opposition to implacable doctrinaire social forces, and most important tactically, attempts to disconnect the apparent implications of scientific discoveries from the feared ideological consequences. (Hook 2002, 6)
      .
      Factors related to but distinct from more global social forces concern resistance at the individual level. New scientific and technical discoveries may threaten not one’s economic welfare or ideological persuasion but rather the “psychic capital” invested in current scientific views–some involving one’s own work–challenged implicitly or explicitly by a new report. Of course the longer one has held views and invested energy in them, the more reluctant one may be to alter them. This inevitably results in conceptual inertia that some have associated with aging. And ranker reasons than those produced by hardening of cerebral arteries or of scientific beliefs may arise from prejudices of culture, nation, gender, ethnicity, or race. (Hook 2002, 6-7)
      .
      All these sources of resistance to discovery originate in what some have termed the “externalist” factors influencing science.[13] And for all the above factors, one may, in principle, suggest some types of science policies to address them. For instance, the review of work by referees without knowledge of its authors, as currently practiced by some journals, clearly diminishes effects of some types of prejudices that inappropriately inhibit publication. Editors close scrutiny of reviewers’ judgements may enable them to distinguish opinions based on wounded psychic capital from legitimate methodological objections. (Hook 2002, 7)
      .
      [13] For those not familiar with the term, it refers to factors extrinsic to the putative value-free application of the scientific method. Economic and/or social factors influencing scientific inquiry are externalist. This is opposed to an “internalist approach,” which focuses on those aspects of scientific inquiry seen traditionally as free of values except for the search for truth. The image most scientists have of the ideal working of science is of course the latter. Concern with issues of acceptance of a theory based on replication falsification, and so on may be regarded as primarily internalist, and concern with those of class and economic factors as primarily externalist. But as has been pointed out on many occasions, it is really not possible to separate those absolutely. See, for example, Nagel 1950, esp. p. 22.
      .
      (Hook, Ernest B., ed. Prematurity in Scientific Discovery . California: University of California Press; 2002; pp. 3-7; 7n13.)
      .
      [O]ne of Kuhn’s main messages (which he, in turn, had derived from the Polish immunologist Ludwik Fleck’s Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact) …. [was] the insight that the history, the sociology, and the philosophy of science are actually a single, indivisible subject. (Hook 2002, 346)

  9. Ken Zimmerman
    August 6, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    One approach to science that might prove useful for starting economics over is that of geology. The scientific method we’re taught about in school is simplified: observation leads to hypothesis to prediction to experiment. It’s easy to teach and lends itself to simple classroom exercises. But in real life, this kind of mechanical process is valid only for problems like solving a crossword puzzle or testing a circuit board. In real science, where much is unknown—certainly in geology—this method gets you nowhere.

    A geologist in 1890, Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin, first described the special kind of intellectual work needed, calling it the method of multiple working hypotheses. He considered it the most advanced of three “scientific methods.” The three methods are:
    Ruling Theory: The “method of the ruling theory” begins with a ready answer to which the thinker grows attached, looking only for facts that confirm the answer. It is suited to religious and legal reasoning, in large part, because the underlying principles are plain.
    Working Hypothesis: The “method of the working hypothesis” begins with a tentative answer, the hypothesis, and seeks out facts to try against it. This is the textbook version of science. But Chamberlin observed “that a working hypothesis may with the utmost ease degenerate into a ruling theory.”
    Multiple Working Hypotheses: The method of multiple working hypotheses begins with many tentative answers and the expectation that no single answer may be the whole story. Indeed, in geology a story is what we seek, not just a conclusion. The example Chamberlin used was the origin of the Great Lakes: Certainly, rivers were involved, to judge from the signs; but so was erosion by ice age glaciers, the bending of the crust under them, and possibly other things. Discovering the true story means weighing and combining different working hypotheses. Charles Darwin, 40 years earlier, had done just this in devising his theory of species evolution.
    The scientific method of geologists is to collect information, stare at it, try a lot of different assumptions, read and discuss other people’s papers and grope their way toward greater certainty, or at least figure the answers with the best odds. This is more like the real problems of real life where much is unknown and variable—planning an investment portfolio, devising regulations, teaching students.
    Multiple Working Hypotheses is still a staple of geological research, especially in the mindset that we should always look for better answers and avoid falling in love with one beautiful idea. The cutting edge today in studying complex geologic problems, such as global warming, is the model-building method. But Chamberlin’s old-fashioned, common sense approach would be welcome in more places. How about economics?

    The kind of science that creates such methodology is, as described by the geologist Robert Frodeman an interpretive (hermeneutic) and historical science. Writes Frodeman, “The crucial point here is that the historical [and interpretive] sciences are distinguished by a different set of criteria for what counts as an explanation. To borrow and adapt an example from Hull (1976), when we ask why someone has died, we are not satisfied with the appeal to the law of nature that all organisms die, true as that is; we are asking for an account of the particular circumstances surrounding that person’s demise. Similarly, in geology we are largely interested in historical ‘‘individuals’’ (this outcrop, the Western Interior Seaway, the lifespan of a species) and their specific life history. It is possible to identify general laws in geology that have explanatory power—e.g., Walther’s law—but the weight of our interest lies elsewhere. The central role played by the question of what counts as an explanation again highlights—and this is one of the main points of this essay—the impossibility of separating knowledge from human interests.”

    • Craig
      August 6, 2019 at 9:18 pm

      As wisdom is the integrative mental process itself including any additional study in an analysis is the correct vector, but this is done on a fairly routine basis in most scientific studies, probably less in economics and the money systems than most, that is true.

      However, until science overcomes its more than 500 year old foolish and reactionary rejection of the fundamental fact of human self awareness/consciousness (whatever one attributes its reality to) it will hamstring its research methods and worse yet its level of knowledge/epistemology. Knowing every little dogmatic jot and tittle of the bible and insisting on strict empiricism, reductivism and mental dualism in science are simply two sides of the same coin.

      Economics requires science to consult wisdom and its pinnacle concept of grace/graciousness/love in action as policy….implemented at the most reality changing point of the economic/productive process at retail sale. Don’t be a religiously erudite scientistic dunce, be wise and scientific. It’s both integrative and scientific in the highest sense.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        August 6, 2019 at 11:37 pm

        Craig, many comments on this blog ask about other options to organize economics, apart from the physics model built into the current discipline. A model that is completely ill suited for economics. I offer geology as one option. An option that, in my view fits the kind of science economists must do since their study subject is more uncertain, more fuzzy, more changeable than most. Biological science might work as well. Though I don’t believe it fits as well.

      • Craig
        August 7, 2019 at 2:43 am

        Why not integrate philosophy/a new philosophical concept into economics and strategically apply it to the monetary system which currently parasitically sits upon everyone and every legitimate business model with a policy that is the very expression of the new monetary paradigm of Direct and Reciprocal Monetary Gifting?

        “A new economic philosophy” is what Steve Keen said was needed a couple years ago at a meeting in Europe that called for a new Reformation in economics. It’s just that he didn’t have paradigm perception. The Reformation was a paradigm shift itself which being the perception of conceptual essences is the same level of mental integration of the truths in opposites as wisdom, which is precisely what is needed.

        As I said in my prior post science integrates other sciences already. Economists and economic pundits simply need to “up their game to it.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        August 7, 2019 at 3:46 am

        Craig, sounds nebulous to me. How about this. Drop the physics-imitation and all mathematics beyond descriptive statistics and see what develops. Comparing multiple possible answers as do biology, geology, and some others might be added later.

      • Craig
        August 7, 2019 at 5:11 am

        Surprised to see the classic empiricist, scientistic response from an anthropologist.

        Economics’ problem is it apes the scientistic side of physics not its cutting edge quantum one which courageously dares to embrace a concept like grace as in the continual integrative, interactive particle flow of the cosmos which reflects and comes back to the Hindu concept of Shiva’s dance experienced over 6000 years ago.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        August 7, 2019 at 5:59 am

        Craig, as I noted physics owes a lot to star gazing, religion, and the mysteries of mathematics for what it is. So, some philosophical form of integrated truth following in physics would not surprise me. I’d be happier if physics, and economics just turned into everyday workable and useful sciences. Right now both are scientific outliers that do no good for anyone. Not even their practitioners.

      • Craig
        August 7, 2019 at 6:50 am

        I’d go along with that, but what’s unworkable and non-utilitarian about an ending, pivoting and paradigm changing point in the economic process where a simple algebraic operation and monetary policy resolves the two biggest and most stubborn problems of modern economies? And I’m not talking changes it a little, but changes the entire pattern.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        August 7, 2019 at 7:42 am

        Craig, no problem with it at all. If it works. One of the reasons planners use models rather than social experiments to test out their proposed policies is that it’s always better to explode a model than a city, state, or region. Or, perhaps a nation. So, model your proposal and let’s take a look at the results. They may surprise you. If the model results are good, then do some polling to figure out if those you hope to benefit from your proposal understand or want it. Those results may surprise you, as well.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        August 7, 2019 at 7:52 am

        On the working and useful part, for economics I’d consider some recommendations, with policy proposals for dealing with inequality, for dealing with climate change, for ending the consumer society, etc. as signs of working and useful. For physics, recommendations and policies for dealing with climate change, nuclear proliferation, new designs for renewable energy, etc.

      • Craig
        August 8, 2019 at 7:01 am

        Ok. From my book:
        A $1000/mo. universal dividend paired with the 50% Discount/Rebate policy immediately guarantees everyone 18 and older $24,000/yr. of potential purchasing power whether they are employed or not.

        The dividend for married couples with at least one child is $1500/mo. each or $36,000/yr. apiece or $72,000/yr.

        Of course if anyone gets a job their purchasing power from any employment is also doubled.

        An 18 year old student with a $9/hr 16hr/wk Wal Mart job would then have monthly purchasing power of $3152/mo or $37,824/yr.

        A couple with a child with 2 full time Wal Mart jobs would have purchasing power of $11760/mo or $141,120/yr.

        A married couple with one child and one income of $40,000/yr would have potential purchasing power of $152,000/yr.

        The wealthy’s income from both the dividend and the doubling of their earned income will increase their purchasing as well so technically inequality isn’t addressed, but as everyone’s income will be abundant instead of scarce or non-existent….who cares. Envy is a personal vice, gratitude is a stellar virtue and such a graciously abundant system would help to support, habituate and self actualize the latter.

        Climate change:

        Creating a publicly administered non-profit monetary and financial system would:

        Forever end cost as a factor for slowing or denying necessary products, projects and new research that would deal with climate change

        With the second 50% Discount/Rebate policy at the point of note signing a $30,000 solar panel purchase would cost only $7500 which with a 0% loan for 2 years would be $312.50/mo.
        A $40,000 autonoumous battery powered car would be $10,000 with a 3 year 0% loan would be $277.78/mo.

        With inflation forever ending from the dividend and Discount/Rebate policies and unemployment no longer a deleterious factor the government could allocate whatever funds it saw fit for any of the huge projects needed to reduce carbon foot print. Re-industrialization of the nation even in the most efficient and ecologically sane way possible would actually increase employment and keep the economy robust and stable and reverse the failed and destabilizing globally financialized economy.

        Ending consumer economy

        Creating an economy philosophically and policy-wise based on grace invites the many virtuous aspects of that concept.

        I suggest a nationally coordinated cooperative effort between the clergy, helping/therapeutic professions and the government to acculturate such virtuous traits and helping people to expand their awareness and appreciation of the vast set of positive, constructive purposes available to them in addition to employment with the monetarily abundant economy.

        There are numerous additional policy suggestions and capabilities in my book that the new monetary paradigm would enable.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        August 8, 2019 at 8:09 am

        Craig,

        “Morning always promises miracles.”
        ― Sinclair Lewis, Elmer Gantry

        I wouldn’t want your clients to put you into the Elmer Gantry role.

  10. Craig
    August 8, 2019 at 8:36 am

    Cynicism is irrelevant regarding survival, and an historically verifiable indication that one is on the wrong side of a paradigm change. Craig 08/08/2019

    • Ken Zimmerman
      August 8, 2019 at 10:04 am

      Craig, the last thing my remarks are about is cynicism. I speak from experience. Just one instance. I negotiated a $55 million rate decrease for some Texas utility customers. On the witness stand I was pilloried by the AG and Citizens’ Counsel for giving too little of the money to low usage customers. Both disagreed with my whole strategy and made that clear by bashing me. Just saying, we don’t always get what we think we deserve.

      • Craig
        August 8, 2019 at 5:35 pm

        Cynicism grows out of negative experience. I’m not saying it is pleasant or that it is anything but a mental challenge to overcome. Neither am I naive about the hold that ideologies have over people’s minds. There are probably nearly as many stupid (read extreme) liberals as there are stupid conservatives/libertarians. Did you get the decrease and did it benefit everyone? That is what is important. And paradighmatically, is it conscious of how the paradigm of monetary scarcity/austerity is overcome with abundantly direct and reciprocal monetary gifting? Recognizing the benefits and necessity of a new pattern is personally 90% of the battle won. Consciousness raising is difficult in humans because of the subtleties of consciousness itself, but the efficacy of a genuinely new pattern gets learned most rapidly by doing-living and in so doing the old way of thinking dies a rather rapid death. You know that. It’s the power and process of culture.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        August 9, 2019 at 4:07 am

        Craig, can you answer one question about the new model you suggest. How do you plan to implement it? Laws, popular movement, force of arms, etc?

      • Craig
        August 9, 2019 at 5:32 am

        Popular movement obviously. Certain laws like the present private charter to create our money will be changed as well because it’s totally obvious that nothing would actually change with private banks doing so. After all, they “own the joint” already and dominate everyone and every legitimate business model.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        August 9, 2019 at 12:00 pm

        Craig, good luck with that. I’ve been involved in several petition campaigns. Wait till you’re facing some BOD of a large corporation that your campaign has made angry. You’ll either love it or hate it. No middle ground. Make no mistake the push back on your proposal will be big and dirty.

      • Craig
        August 9, 2019 at 6:22 pm

        Who cares. They don’t have the easily illustrated and incredible individual and systemic benefits of a genuine paradigm change…and I do. The trick is to either ignore the present paradigm idiocies such might try to pin you down with and/or use it as an opportunity to get the entirely obvious benefits to EVERY INDIVIDUAL AND EVERY ENTERPRISE that the new paradigm accomplishes in spades.

        Rigid capitalists and rigid socialists can’t compete with the completely integrative truths and temporal universe effects of a genuine paradigm change. The general populace, not as burdened with the abstractions and old paradigm orthodoxies as the erudite. There is recent sociological research that shows that a mere 10% of the populace’s awareness of an issue is enough to make it virtually inevitable that such idea become the new reality.

  11. August 8, 2019 at 5:33 pm

    Ken on August 6, 2019 at 12:49 pm: “One approach to science that might prove useful for starting economics over is that of geology … [Chamberlin’s Ruling Theory, Working Hypothesis, Multiple Working Hypotheses]”.

    This, finally, is constructive, Ken. Let me first comment that teams of scientists differ in personality, think in different ways and don’t always have time to examine the evidence “off-line” before coming to a conclusion. Ideally they are led by someone [financially] free to consider multiple working hypotheses: now sadly a rarity with the demise of the amateur.

    Let secondly draw your attention to the thought of G K Chesterton, more or less contemporary with Chamberlain, who started by studying personality differences and is still famous for teaching the method of Multiple Working Hypotheses to non-scientists via his “Father Brown” detective stories (written to fund criticism of pre-Keynesian neoliberal political economics).

    Let me thirdly claim that the real problems are not specific things like “planning an investment portfolio [or] devising regulations”, they are the economic system itself. To cut a long story short, Newtonian science of forces enables one to do specific things, but Shannon’s science of information capacity has produced an internet on which everyone can do what they want, more or less in their own time. I am suggesting that is a far better model of what an economy should be doing than a usurious Ponzi system which enables a few idiots and bullies to do what they want. How it is achieved is what economists and politicians need to be studying, not innocently allowing themselves to be indoctrinated with Plato’s Republic and Machiavelli.

    • Ken Zimmerman
      August 9, 2019 at 4:20 am

      Dave, interesting view of science. The talented amateur. Not many economists would take that seriously today.

      Multiple working hypotheses wasn’t a new idea when Chamberlain proposed it in Geology. In fact, it’s been an everyday processing way for thousands of years. Scientists abandoned by and large for a process more formal, more mathematical, and supposedly beyond the understanding of the everyday person.

      A self-organizing economy is difficult to organize today in the face of fetished money and political power through ownership. But it’s my view such an economy would be both more democratic and more effective in meeting people’s needs from the physical to the emotional and social.

      • Robert Locke
        August 9, 2019 at 7:46 am

        Ken, when I investigated the development of the forges and foundries of Alais, 1829-1874, I did so because I found the companies papers in the attic of the chateau d’Azy, the Nievre, in 1962. I arranged through the business history archivists at the French national archives to have the papers deposited there, and I wrote a short history with a larger section on founding letters for the new modern enterprise (making rails for the new railroad system in France. (See, Robert R Locke, the fonderies et forges d’Alais. Marcel Riviere et Cie.) The people involved were Benoist d’Azy, Denys, his sons Charles and Paul, Emile Martin, inventer of the Four-Martin, Open Hearth, Charles Manby, an English engineer, who recruited the skilled labor in England that moved to the factory site in France, and a number of businessmen and rich landlords who furnished the capital. None of the people involved was an “economists,” nor were economists (Smith, Ricardo, etc.) mentioned by any of the people involved in the development of these modern establishments. I, therefore, as an historian had no reason to read economists when doing this research, nor did I have any reason to read them when studying high tech industrialization in Germany, late 19th century.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        August 9, 2019 at 12:32 pm

        Robert, you’re as dependable as a Russian winter. All excellent points.

        When Alais built this plant in the 19th century consulting with an economist would have never entered the minds of Benoist or his sons. What role would they, could they play? Even if they could have found what we’d call an economist today in the middle of the 19th century. But they might have found it beneficial to consult an ecologist. There were some proto-ecologists around in the mid 19th century.

        Today economists oversee everything. They and lawyers. Consider the US Federal Reserve. All economists and lawyers. What does that say about the kind of society we’ve created. No wonder the current radical Republicans could undermine it so completely. No glue to hold it together. Just economists’ useless math and lawyers’ hair spliting “opinions.” Economies are not about economists and the law is not about lawyers. Economists and lawyers see it the other way round, however.

  12. Yoshinori Shiozawa
    August 9, 2019 at 9:07 am

    Robert is presenting an interesting episode.

  13. Craig
    August 9, 2019 at 6:37 pm

    Science wonderfully enlightens detail. New paradigms elegantly and effectively cut through such complexities and explode any old paradigm orthodoxies lingering therein.

    The new monetary paradigm ends the 5000 year old reign of Debt ONLY, accomplishes the already agreed upon heterodox desires to end individual and systemic austerity and will bring more stability to economics than it has seen for that entire period.

    It’s all about the paradigm….or fiddling around with lesser levels of integrative reform.

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