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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/4738/what-is-economics-anyway/

What Is Economics Anyway?

February 26, 2006 by

Placing the word “economics” into the Google News search engine is quite a dreadful affair. From an Austrian School perspective, it is a surreal look at exactly how bizarre a conception of economics many in the world actually have.

At first glance, you’ll find the Russian Economic Development and Trade Ministry arguing over large-diameter pipe imports. OK, not so bad, hopefully they will decide to abolish the import duties. But, the quality of the search results quickly deteriorate.

A further look down the page, and you’ll find a story from The Sunday Times about a former economics student who “makes economics sexy” by writing a book about a frustrated economist who discovers that “equations can’t account for the environmental devastation he sees around him.” Hmmm, something just doesn’t seem quite right here.

A glutton for punishment, I couldn’t help but see what would come next. Surprise, surprise, I would not be disappointed. What I discovered next was Tony Blair’s trade secretary calling for something he calls “Sgt. Pepper economics.” Sorry Mr. Johnson, but I don’t think globalisation is the first thing that comes to mind.

The next and thankfully the last thing I found (enough was enough) was former Czech president Vaclav Havel telling the youth of today not to confuse economics with accounting. But, maybe he should have gone a little further and suggested they not confuse “economics” and the games some economists play with real economics.

{ 11 comments }

Tim Swanson February 26, 2006 at 7:38 pm

Interestingly enough, if you type in “economics blog” or something close to it, the Mises blog comes up first.

beer on a stick February 26, 2006 at 7:39 pm

Here is the question that was put to me many moons ago by a “econ” professor of some knowledge. He’s big “thing’ was the “first of anything you consumed was the best” theory. Eat 3 candy bars and the first was the “best”
you could get etc.
In your valued opinion Professor is the first beer the best one? Or could it be that the 8th one is better. When you take a toke over the line could it be that the 4th toke is better? Is your second double martini better? Please give me your honest opinion.
I would like to unveil the trailer trash theorem of consumption but I need your learned opinion on the above questions before my theorem is complete.

Justin Ptak February 26, 2006 at 7:41 pm

Yes, it’s true, all is not lost. I have seen LRC and Mises.org pop up with some frequence in the Google News search engine.

Justin Ptak February 26, 2006 at 7:42 pm

I always thought it was the beer in your hand that was the best one.

kurt February 27, 2006 at 2:58 am

And after that, the beer in the fridge! Unless of course you got satiated.

Brett_McS February 27, 2006 at 6:37 am

Yes, and a beer in the hand is worth two in the fridge.

Yves Grassioulet February 27, 2006 at 9:23 am

Who said that the Austrian economics is the real economics? Can you prove it? Why being so sure about it?

George Gaskell February 27, 2006 at 9:56 am

I think of economics as the study of complexity, as applied to human behavior.

All of the key concepts of complexity studies are there: interdependent agents, information, feedback, chaos vs. control, adaptive mechanisms, organizational modes, etc.

Oddly enough, these ideas get short shrift in modern economics scholarship, but they are the bread and butter of computer science and artificial intelligence research. After all, artificial intelligence is the study of adaptive decision-making and its consequences. That sounds like economics to me.

Economics has more in common with cybernetics and stochastic control systems than many people realize. The connection became obvious to me when I first came across the free-market economics concept that prices are information, i.e., signals to production. From that one, simple concept (which only free-marketers seem to even comprehend), all the other conceptual similarities became clear.

Socialists of all stripes never want to accept that one idea — prices are information. They always want to attach some moral significance to prices.

John Delano February 27, 2006 at 11:49 am

Maybe we need a Google-bomb.

palash March 15, 2006 at 2:23 am

the future is us the ecomimist

mc December 4, 2011 at 9:52 pm

exacly !

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