Tuesday, March 27, 2007

post economics

Someone in my surroundings (no names shall be named although guesses may be posted) is infamous for saying that all men are autistic. While this may be something of a strong statement, - I shall surely refrain from further commenting on it - , I think that it is fair to say that as a social scientist, to elect modern, neo-classical, mathematics-based economics as a field of specialization frequently feels like electing a form of autism.

Previously, my co-author & me independently made the journey from the realm of the mainstream economist joking to post-autistic economist joking. In the latter field, there seems more fun to be had, more resentment to be felt, more resonance of our criticism, more audible echoes of the days when students protested against their professors. It goes without saying that we each discovered the post-autistic world while officially attempting to finish our respective economics master's theses, keeping in mind the ancient adagium 'when forced in one direction, one shall run in the other.'

Post-autistic economics includes such un-heard-of sub-domains as 'ethics', 'pluralism' and 'hetorodox economics', all of which would completely bewilder any straight-thinking fan of the Pareto Magic (= the 'markets-are-perfect') Paradigm. (Come to think of it, if markets were perfect, economistis would be unnecessary altogether. The mere existence of economistis undermines their most sacred belief.)

Post-economists are those people that read Schumpeter and write articles on labour rights in China. They discuss Romer's model of endogenous economic growth, and explain the assumptions he makes as a result of his having been 'thoroughly socialized in the paradigm of neo-classical theory', denying the fact that the model formed any kind of 'revolution' in economics.

Excuse me for becoming jargonistic for a second. The translation of the last sentence would be: 'Romer is a smart guy, but it's still economics we're talking about. Unfortunately, Romer cannot be called a post-autist.'

When I developed a secret and admittedly very vague but passionate interest in theories of innovation and change, innovation economics had little new to offer me. While its main asset seems to be an awareness of the facts that economies grow and there is no mathematical way to explain it as of yet, its liabilities included a want both of theoretical models and of appropriate data. Especially, the field seems to lack a desire and a vision to depart from the mathematical paradigm. (Don't get me wrong, I don't object to the use of mathematics; but I object to math obstructing theoretical thinking).

Which is why, in my current post-economics life, with my post-economics anti-rational decision-making and my post-economics ability to produce nonsensical texts and my post-economics enjoyment of non-self-interested-activities, I am opening the floor to

(Un)Sustainable/Post-Autistic/Non-Rational Business Plans

Send me ideas if you have any, and stay tuned for there is more to come.


Anna said...

All men autistic? I am slightly shocked you have friends who are more fervent manhaters than me! All kidding aside, it is a fact that there are more men than women in economics. And that economics is an autistic science. Any sophist can draw the conclusion here.

I love post-autistic economists. But I also love autistic economists, since they give us the passion we need to advance our science (dare I say, SOCIAL science?). I am writing about gender wage discrimination, and every time I get the "yeah, all very interesting, but what does ECONOMICS have to do with that" twenty-million dollar question, I get to put in my two cents. If there's anything traditional economists are good at it's calculating how many two-cents go into twenty million dollars, so even the most die-hard neoclassical invisible handist will have to admit that we'll get there, eventually.

Hannah said...

I went a little militant on attacking economics there..., my apologies, ms. Ph.D.-in-economics-to-be. You know it's a love-hate-thing, right? Especially, you can wake me for feminist economics at 3 am any night.

Showing some love for an idea from one of the centres of autistic economics:

Anna said...

mon amie, I was (as ever), completely on your (non-autistic) side. just saying, let's give the freehandists some credit for giving us something to kick against (que viva la revolucion!)