Monday, February 4, 2008

Idealogy in economics

In Thomas McCraw's Prophet of Innovation:
On pp. 454-455:
... "economists indulged their strong propensity to dabble in politics, to peddle political recipes, to offer themselves as philosophers of economic life, and in doing so neglected the duty of stating explicitly the value judgements that they introduced into their reasoning." An unfortunate result of this had been the discrediting of economic theory itself through the discrediting of the political stances of many theorists.

On pg. 477:

Most economists vehemently deny their own "idealogical bias." The "do not admit that it is an inescapable curse and that it vitiates economics to the core." ... the first step is to recognize that "perception of a set of related phenomena is a prescientific act. It must be performed in order to give to our minds something to do scientific work on - to indicate an object or research - but it is not scientific in itself ... This mixture of perceptions and prescientific analysis we shall call the research worker's Vision or Intuition." And the vision "is ideology by nature and may contain any amount of delusions traceable to a man's social location." ... Model building "consists of picking out certain facts rather than others," then working to refine the chosen facts, to adjust them in light of opposing evidence, and to place them all in a theoretical framework."On pg. 482:

Nearing the end of his long speech, Schumpeter turned to the subject of economic history. There, he argued, idealogical bias shows up more vividly than in any other subfield of economics. In books and articles on economic development, scholars who believe in the efficacy of activist government emphasize the role of public policies in achieving healthy growth. Conversely, those who think arguments to be less competent always minimize their contributions.

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