Thursday, May 3, 2012

Is It True that Economists Often Mistake Beauty for Truth?

Pete Boettke writes:

In fact, I'd argue that in puzzle selection, that economists choose puzzles to work on that excite their intellectual imaginations and among those, they work on those they think they can solve with the tools and techniques they deem as scientific.  A lot of presuppositions (some explicit, some tacit) go into that exercise.  Furthermore, ideology (or what Schumpeter termed our pre-analytic cognitive act of vision which provides the raw material for analysis) exists across all economists, even those who believe themselves above such biases.  In fact, it is probably the case that ideological bias is strongest in those who think themselves most immune from ideological influence.

The economist as social engineer is different from the economist as student of society, and the perception of the state as an active player in the economic game is different from the perception of the state as a referee in the economic game.  The (tacit or otherwise) presuppositions of political economy matter for the puzzles one works on, and the evidence one finds telling. 

The entire post is well worth a read.

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