How should the best parts of psychology and economics interrelate in an enlightened economist's mind?... I think that these behavioral economics...or economists are probably the ones that are bending them in the correct direction. I don't think it's going to be that hard to bend economics a little to accommodate what's right in psychology.
I am practical by nature, and I'd heard that being a writer or an artist is a good way to starve! So I was an economics major at Oklahoma State, and then received an M.S. from Cornell in Agricultural Resource and Managerial Economics. I knew if I wanted to write I would do it on my own, but I knew I wouldn't make myself study economics on my own.
That's a large part of what economics is - people arbitrarily, or as a matter of taste, assigning numerical values to non-numerical things. And then pretending that they haven't just made the numbers up, which they have. Economics is like astrology in that sense, except that economics serves to justify the current power structure, and so it has a lot of fervent believers among the powerful.
Kim Stanley Robinson
Anyway that's a large part of what economics is - people arbitrarily, or as a matter of taste, assigning numerical values to non-numerical things. And then pretending that they haven't just made the numbers up, which they have. Economics is like astrology in that sense, except that economics serves to justify the current power structure, and so it has a lot of fervent believers among the powerful
Kim Stanley Robinson
Neoclassical economics has effectively insulated itself from the great advances made in science and engineering over the last 40 years. This self-imposed isolation must come to an end. For while the concepts of neoclassical economics appear difficult, they are actually quaint in comparison to the sophistication evident in today's mathematics, engineering, computing, evolutionary biology and physics. In order to advance, economics must humbly submit to learning from disciplines that it has studiously ignored for so long. Some researchers in outside fields have called for the wholesale replacement of standard economics curricula, using at least the building blocks of modern thought inherent in other disciplines.
I think historically modern economics, capitalist economics, tends to erode moral categories... And this is where I think the right gets capitalism wrong. They kind of assume that there is a moral equivalence or moral valence to capitalism, but I tend to think that economics erodes all the kind of cultural taboos and inhibitions and values it comes into contact with.
My Prime Minister regards the economy as our highest priority and forgets that economics and ecology are derived from the same Greek word, oikos, meaning household or domain. Ecology is the study of home, while economics is its management. Ecologists try to define the conditions and principles that enable a species to survive and flourish. Yet in elevating the economy above those principles, we seem to think we are immune to the laws of nature. We have to put the 'eco' back into economics.
Most of the people in the world are poor, so if we knew the economics of being poor, we would know much of the economics that really matters. Most of the world's poor people earn their living from agriculture, so if we knew the economics of agriculture, we would know much of the economics of being poor.
Whether we like it or not, it is a fact that economics cannot remain an esoteric branch of knowledge accessible only to small groups of scholars and specialists. Economics deals with society's fundamental problems; it concerns everyone and belongs to all. It is the main and proper study of every citizen.
Ludwig von Mises
For a variety of reasons, I have always felt myself an outsider. I don't know how to classify myself in economics. I am a loner. I do not like groupthink, which, if anything, has become more important in economics. In addition, a lot of the values I hold are not the mainstream values in the profession.
Economics is not an exact science. It's a combination of an art and elements of science. And that's almost the first and last lesson to be learned about economics: that in my judgment, we are not converging toward exactitude, but we're improving our data bases and our ways of reasoning about them.
We used to think God made us in His image, and that meant we were special, until science told us we just evolved that way because it suited a landscape of trees and savannas. That's what science does: it says, look again and you'll see you're not special. But economics? Economics is also a science. And what does it say?... It says: there is energy, and there are raw materials, and that's the cosmos. But without us the energy is random and the raw material is inert. It's only labour that makes the cosmos come alive. It's only us that make economics happen at all. And that makes us special.
We should know that only replacing the economics of competition and greed with the economics of equitable cooperation will guarantee a globalization that takes advantage of potential efficiency gains in ways that also promote environmental protection, international equity, economic democracy, and variety.
PLEASURE and pain are undoubtedly the ultimate objects of the calculus of economics. To satisfy our wants to the utmost with the least effort - to procure the greatest amount of what is desirable at the expense of the least that is undesirable - in other words, to maximize pleasure, is the problem of economics.
William Stanley Jevons
Economics and a reliance on science and technology to solve our problems has led to an unsustainable situation where continued growth in consumption is required for governments and business to be considered successful. This is a form of insanity. Economics is at the heart of our destructive ways and our faith in it has blinded us
One of the profound effects of economics in our day is that the people with the money and the power have embraced the guilt-free, external-less, everything-will-turn-out-okay-in-the-end philosophy of economics in order to justify their own evil works. And the economists, for the most part, have sucked up to that money.
Since the global financial crisis and recession of 2007-2009, criticism of the economics profession has intensified. The failure of all but a few professional economists to forecast the episode - the aftereffects of which still linger - has led many to question whether the economics profession contributes anything significant to society.
Robert J. Shiller
Modern economics is sick. Economics has increasingly become an intellectual game played for its own sake and not for its practical consequences for understanding the economic world. Economists have converted the subject into a sort of social mathematics in which analytical rigour is everything and practical relevance is nothing.
Neoclassical economics is precisely the theory one would expect a vastly complex system of international corporations, world markets, and interconnected currencies to create to sustain, justify, explain, and predict "itself." And classical economics, correspondingly, was a predictable expression of an earlier European capitalism.
Roger M. Keesing
As I talk about strengths and weaknesses in academic economics, one interesting fact you are entitled to know is that I never took a course in economics. And with this striking lack of credentials, you may wonder why I have the chutzpah to be up here giving this talk. The answer is I have a black belt in chutzpah. I was born with it.
Globalization and trade liberalization were supposed to make us all better off through the mechanism of trickle-down economics. What we seemed to be seeing instead was trickle-up economics, accompanied by a destruction of democratic politics, as we moved ever closer to a system of 'one dollar, one vote' as opposed to 'one person, one vote.'
No very deep knowledge of economics is usually needed for grasping the immediate effects of a measure; but the task of economics is to foretell the remoter effects, and so to allow us to avoid such acts as attempt to remedy a present ill by sowing the seeds of a much greater ill for the future.
Ludwig von Mises
It is clear that Economics, if it is to be a science at all, must be a mathematical science ... simply because it deals with quantities... As the complete theory of almost every other science involves the use of calculus, so we cannot have a true theory of Economics without its aid.
William Stanley Jevons
It is almost as hard to define mathematics as it is to define economics, and one is tempted to fall back on the famous old definition attributed to Jacob Viner, "Economics is what economists do," and say that mathematics is what mathematicians do. A large part of mathematics deals with the formal relations of quantities or numbers.
Kenneth E. Boulding
Perhaps the most widespread misunderstanding of economics is that it applies solely to financial transactions. Frequently this leads to statements that "there are noneconomic values" to consider. There are, of course, noneconomic values. Indeed, there are only noneconomic values. Economics is not a value itself but merely a method of trading off one value against another.
None of this excuses anyone from mastering the basic ideas and terminology of economics. The intelligent layman must expect also to encounter good economists who are difficult writers even though some of the best have been very good writers. He should know, moreover, that at least for a few great men ambiguity of expression has been a positive asset. But with these exceptions he may safely conclude that what is wholly mysterious in economics is not likely to be important.
John Kenneth Galbraith
I also believe - and hope - that politics and economics will cease to be as important in the future as they have been in the past; the time will come when most of our present controversies on these matters will seem as trivial, or as meaningless, as the theological debates in which the keenest minds of the Middle Ages dissipated their energies. Politics and economics are concerned with power and wealth, neither of which should be the primary, still less the exclusive, concern of full-grown men.
Arthur C. Clarke
Thus we seem to be on the verge of an expansion of welfare economics into something like a social science of ethics and politics: what was intended to be a mere porch to ethics is either the whole house or nothing at all. In so laying down its life welfare economics may be able to contribute some of its insights and analytical methods to a much broader evaluative analysis of the whole social process.
Kenneth E. Boulding
Conventions of generality and mathematical elegance may be just as much barriers to the attainment and diffusion of knowledge as may contentment with particularity and literary vagueness... It may well be that the slovenly and literary borderland between economics and sociology will be the most fruitful building ground during the years to come and that mathematical economics will remain too flawless in its perfection to be very fruitful.
Kenneth E. Boulding
I call crony capitalism, where you take money from successful small businesses, spend it in Washington on favored industries, on favored individuals, picking winners and losers in the economy, that's not pro-growth economics. That's not entrepreneurial economics. That's not helping small businesses. That's cronyism, that's corporate welfare.
So what were your favorite subjects in school?" "School?" He leaned back in his chair as though he needed the extra space to think about it. "Probably math. It always made sense. Unlike English, economics, and girls." "And exactly how do you plan on taking over the free world if you don't understand economics?" "I'll hire advisers. I'll hire you, in fact." "Okay. Let me know when your army of junior high zombies is ready.
Mathematical economics is old enough to be respectable, but not all economists respect it. It has powerful supporters and impressive testimonials, yet many capable economists deny that mathematics, except as a shorthand or expository device, can be applied to economic reasoning. There have even been rumors that mathematics is used in economics (and in other social sciences) either for the deliberate purpose of mystification or to confer dignity upon common places as French was once used in diplomatic communications.
James R Newman
Unless the fundamental categories of economics such as 'property' were to be redefined in a radically personal way the liberal rationalist curse which had established economics as a scientific discipline cut off from human interests would proliferate. Economic models ... have failed to incorporate any meaningful index of individual benefit other than the original utilitarian one, ... the index of increasing income or an increasing flow of commodities.
Home economics should find its way into the curriculum of every school because the scientific study of a problem pertaining to food, shelter or clothing... raises manual labor that might be drudgery to the plane of intelligent effort that is always self-respecting...Home economics is not one department, in the sense in which dairying or entomology or soils is a department. It is not a single speciality... Many technical and educational departments will grow out of it as time goes on.
Martha Van Rensselaer
Economists get very uncomfortable when you talk about virtue and vice. It doesn't lend itself to a lot of columns with numbers. But I would argue that there are big virtue effects in economics. I would say that the spreading of double-entry bookkeeping by the Monk, Fra Luce de Pacioli, was a big virtue effect in economics. It made business more controllable, and it made it more honest.
Modern prophets say that our economics have failed us. No! It is not our economics which have failed; it is man who has failed-man who has forgotten God. Hence no manner of economic or political readjustment can possibly save our civilization; we can be saved only by a renovation of the inner man, only by a purging of our hearts and souls; for only by seeking first the Kingdom of God and His Justice will all these other things be added unto us.
Fulton J. Sheen
By the laws of the land, people who come looking for jobs in America are illegal. But by the laws of economics, they are following the logic and laws of economics when they leave Guatemala and go to Mexico, leave Mexico and come to the U.S., leave Africa and go to Spain and Europe looking for jobs.
From this failure to expunge the microeconomic foundations of neoclassical economics from post-Great Depression theory arose the "microfoundations of macroeconomics" debate, which ultimately led to a model in which the economy is viewed as a single utility-maximizing individual blessed with perfect knowledge of the future. Fortunately, behavioral economics provides the beginnings of an alternative vision of how individuals operate in a market environment, while multi-agent modelling and network theory give us foundations for understanding group dynamics in a complex society. These approaches explicitly emphasize what neoclassical economics has evaded: that aggregation of heterogeneous individuals results in emergent properties of the group, which cannot be reduced to the behavior of any "representative individual." These approaches should replace neoclassical microeconomics completely.
Of valid economics pre-dating the Power Age (steam and electricity), there remains not a vestige. Of valid economics pre-dating the intensive and extensive use of electricity there will soon exist only rags and tatters. We still have to thank Adam Smith for insisting 'Consumption is the sole end and purpose of production;' but the old form of the law of demand and supply is outmoded, since supply has become practically inexhaustible.
Harriet Boyd Hawes
Investing is the intersection of economics and psychology. The analysis is actually the easy part. The economics, the valuation of the business isn't that hard. The psychology - how much do you buy, do you buy it at this price, do you wait for a lower price, what do you do when it looks like the world might end - those things are harder. Knowing whether you stand there, buy more, or whether something has legitimately gone wrong and you need to sell, those are harder things. That you learn with experience, by having the right psychological makeup.
We do not need to understand economics in order to experience the benefits of freedom of exchange and production. But we may very well need to understand economics in order to sustain and maintain the institutional framework that enables us to realize the benefits that flow from freedom of exchange and production.
If the world were full of the self-seeking individuals found in economics textbooks, it would grind to a halt because we would be spending most of our time cheating, trying to catch the cheaters, and punishing the caught. The world works as it does only because people are not the totally self seeking agents that free-market economics believes them to be. We need to design an economic system that, while acknowledging that people are often selfish, exploits other human motives to the full and gets the best out of people. The likelihood is that, if we assume the worst about people, we will get the worst out of them.
Our economics are not baseball's economics. Our game is not baseball's game. Our owners are not baseball's owners, with one or two exceptions. Our union is not baseball's union. What we do has to be crafted and suited to address hockey, to address the NHL, to address our 30 teams and our 700-plus players.
Trickle-down economics - it didn't work. The whole idea was supply-side economics: give rich people a lot of money; they'll spend it, it'll go into the economy. Here's what we found out - rich people, really good at keeping all the money. That's how they got rich. If you want it in the economy, give it to the poor people. You know what they're really good at? Spending all their money.
The appeal to the intellectually insecure is also more important than it might seem. Because economics touches so much of life, everyone wants to have an opinion. Yet the kind of economics covered in the textbooks is a technical subject that many people find hard to follow. How reassuring, then, to be told that it is all irrelevant - that all you really need to know are a few simple ideas! Quite a few supply-siders have created for themselves a wonderful alternative intellectual history in which John Maynard Keynes was a fraud, Paul Samuelson and even Milton Friedman are fools, and the true line of deep economic thought runs from Adam Smith through obscure turn-of-the-century Austrians straight to them.
An essential pedagogic step here is to relegate the teaching of mathematical methods in economics to mathematics departments. Any mathematical training in economics, if it occurs at all, should come after students have at the very least completed course work in basic calculus, algebra and differential equations (the last being one about which most economists are woefully ignorant). This simultaneously explains why neoclassical economists obsess too much about proofs and why non-neoclassical economists, like those in the Circuit School, experience such difficulties in translating excellent verbal ideas about credit creation into coherent dynamic models of a monetary production economy.
That economics has a considerable conceptual apparatus with an appropriate terminology can not be a serious ground for complaint. Economic phenomena, ideas, instruments of analysis exist. They require names. Education in economics is, in considerable measure, an introduction to this terminology and to the ideas that it denotes. Anyone who has difficulties with the ideas should complete his education or, following an exceedingly well-beaten path, leave the subject alone. It is sometimes said that the economist has a special obligation to make himself understood because his subject is of such great and popular importance. By this rule the nuclear physicist would have to speak in monosyllables.
John Kenneth Galbraith
Economics ought to be a magpie discipline, taking in philosophy, history and politics. But heterodox approaches have long since been banished from most faculties, claims Tony Lawson. In the 1970s, when he started teaching at Cambridge, the economics faculty still boasted legends such as Nicky Kaldor and Joan Robinson. "There were big debates, and students would study politics, the history of economic thought." And now? "Nothing. No debates, no politics or history of economic thought and the courses are nearly all maths." How do elites remain in charge? If the tale of the economists is any guide, by clearing out the opposition and then blocking their ears to reality. The result is the one we're all paying for.