^BOOK ☠ Economic Philosophy ↮ PDF eBook or Kindle ePUB free

Robinson investigates what it means to be scientific in economics She uses Popperian falsification for the criteria, which seems weakshe doesn t really give any examples of scientific concepts in economics.Concepts which are, uh, beyond scientific are considered metaphysical She considers both value from classical economics and utility from the marginalist paradigm both metaphysical concepts Great But are there any scientific concepts Before answering that question, Robins Robinson investigates what it means to be scientific in economics She uses Popperian falsification for the criteria, which seems weakshe doesn t really give any examples of scientific concepts in economics.Concepts which are, uh, beyond scientific are considered metaphysical She considers both value from classical economics and utility from the marginalist paradigm both metaphysical concepts Great But are there any scientific concepts Before answering that question, Robinson does insist that a concept status as metaphysical ought not diminish it in the leastin which case, I feel like asking Does it matter if a concept is either metaphysical or scientific The answer appears to be a resounding No so why bother with the distinction Never mind Are there any scientific concepts in economics not really appears to be the answer Or perhapsaccurately Yes, but they re built atop a metaphysical foundation or within a metaphysical framework I take exception with Robinson s criteria for falsifiability, since it seems naive and poorly construed We must directly test a model varying one parameter at a time.But indirect testing If this concept were true, then it has these direct consequences and these indirect implications We can test these indirect implications apparently is suspect and rejectedWorse, Robinson appears to confuse the Popperian notion of metaphysics as An untestable proposition with the Logical postivist s notion An unspeakable proposition She dissects the proposition All men are created equally as a positivist would, then insists it by sheer coincidence cannot be testedbecause it already had the status as metaphysical before even considering testability sigh All in all, the book is very thought provoking I still need to mull over various points raised, but its absolutely dee lightful The misery of being exploited by capitalists is nothing compared to the misery of not being exploited at all That looks glib, but in context a Keynesian socialist critique it s not It s an inconvenient fact in that framework, and as such it s a clue to the grand trajectory we are all unequally traversing under this doubly maligned mixed system A relative insider being pessimistic about economics prospects of ever becoming a Science This coupling of economy to metaphysical matters su The misery of being exploited by capitalists is nothing compared to the misery of not being exploited at all That looks glib, but in context a Keynesian socialist critique it s not It s an inconvenient fact in that framework, and as such it s a clue to the grand trajectory we are all unequally traversing under this doubly maligned mixed system A relative insider being pessimistic about economics prospects of ever becoming a Science This coupling of economy to metaphysical matters suited me at the time But there has been an empirical turn in economics though decades after this , and I no longer look for a binary Science Nonscience judgment After all, even particle physics is ridden with cognitive bias Instead there are only differing concentrations of objectivity naturalism quantification successful prediction insensitivity to speaker prestige empiricism a banger It wasn t necessarily that it was bad, as the primary theme is certainly agreeable across the ages Rather, much of it seemed quite outdated occasionally to the extent of being obsolete, perhaps Definitely still worth the read if the subject is of interest to you, though. Read chapter 3 for the economic pluralism reading group It was a brilliant critique of the concept of utility and how the Marginal Revolution brought it into the heart of modern economics Really want to read the rest of the book as well. Parts of this book should be mandatory reading for economics students. Meanwhile, from the orthodox camp the labour theory, with its disagreeable smell, had been swept out and utility had come in Utility is a metaphysical concept of impregnable circularity utility is the quality in commodities that makes individuals want to buy them, and the fact that individuals want to buy them shows that they have utility It came into vogue first in connexion with the theory of relative prices Purporting to be a quantity, it could be spoken of in terms of total, average and Meanwhile, from the orthodox camp the labour theory, with its disagreeable smell, had been swept out and utility had come in Utility is a metaphysical concept of impregnable circularity utility is the quality in commodities that makes individuals want to buy them, and the fact that individuals want to buy them shows that they have utility It came into vogue first in connexion with the theory of relative prices Purporting to be a quantity, it could be spoken of in terms of total, average and marginal, and so used to explain the old puzzle of water and diamonds The total utility of water is indefinitely great, since life itself depends on it When individuals have all they need they are not willing to pay for anyIn Aden, however, where water is scarce, it commands a price and the quantity that an individual consumes is cut back to the amount whose marginal utility is equal to the price How do we know It must be so, for price is the measure of marginal utility p 48 Not only that, the doctrine of diminishing marginal utility applied to income itself As Marshall put it A stronger incentive will be required to induce a person to pay a given price for anything if he is poor than if he is rich A shilling is the measure of less pleasure, or satisfaction of any kind, to a rich man than to a poor one A rich man in doubt whether to spend one shilling on a single cigar, is weighing against one another smaller pleasures than a poor man, who is doubting whether to spend a shilling on a supply of tobacco that will last him a month The clerk with 100 pounds a year will walk to business in a much heavier rain than the clerk with 300 pounds a year for the cost of a ride by tram or omnibus measures a greater benefit to the poorer man than to the richer If the poorer man spends the money, he will sufferfrom the want of it afterwards than the richer would The benefit that is measured in the poorer man s mind by the cost is greater than that measured by it in the richer man s mind This points to egalitarian principles, justifies Trade Unions, progressive taxation and the Welfare State, if notradical means to interfere with an economic system that allows so much of the good juice of utility to evaporate out of commodities by distributing them unequally But on the other hand the whole point of utility was to justify laisser faire Everyone must be free to spend his income as he likes, and he will gain the greatest benefit when he equalizes the marginal utility of a shilling spent on each kind of good The pursuit of profit, under conditions of perfect competition, leads producers to equate marginal costs to prices, and the maximum possible satisfaction is drawn from available resources This is an ideology to end ideologies, for it has abolished the moral problem It is only necessary for each individual to act egoistically for the good of all to be attained pp 53 54 Edgeworth, as we saw above, and many after him, took refuge in the argument that we do not really know what greater equality would promote greater happiness, because individuals differ in their capacity for happiness, so that, until we have a thoroughly scientific hedonimeter, the principle every man, and every woman, to count for one, should be very cautiously applied Many years ago, this point of view was expressed by Professor Harberler How do I know that it hurts youto have your leg cut off than it hurts me to be pricked by a pin It seemed at the time that it would have beentelling if he had put it the other way round p 139 As should be evident from the quotations, Robinson writes with a withering sarcasm and a skill rare in economists It is unfortunate that she did not update this book later in life, to reflect the further evolution of her views It is unfortunate, too, that it was Milton Friedman s book Capitalism and Freedom, published two years earlier, that won a wide readership with the lay public ^BOOK ⇰ Economic Philosophy ↶ Economics has always been partly a vehicle for the ruling ideology of each period as well as partly a method of scientific investigation It limps along with one foot in untested hypotheses and the other in untestable slogans Here our task is to sort out as best we may this mixture of ideology and science With these provocative words, Joan Robinson introduces this lively and iconoclastic book In what follows, she says, this theme is illustrated by reference to one or two of the leading ideas of the economists from Adam Smith onwards, not in a learned manner, tracing the development of thought, nor historically, to show how ideas arose out of the problems of each age, but rather an attempt to puzzle out the mysterious way that metaphysical propositions, without any logical content, can yet be a powerful influence on thought and action Robinson is responsible for some of the most austerely professional contributions to economic theory, but here in effect she takes the reader behind the scenes and cheerfully exposes the dogmatic content of economic orthodoxy In its place, she offers the possibility that with obsolete metaphysics cleared out of the way economics can make a substantial advance toward science