Monday, October 26, 2009

Quote for the Day

by Tom Walker
"For reasons which will become clearer as the book goes on, I have come to see economics as a fundamentally regressive discipline, its regressive nature disguised by increasingly sophisticated mathematics and statistics." -- Robert Skidelsy, Keynes: The Return of the Master
The only quibble I would have with Skidelsky's formulation is that the "disguise" also functions as a screen and turnstile. The way that these "increasingly sophisticated" mathematics and statistics are held together precludes the most salient critical analysis. At the very foundation of the "math" program are a set of ideological assumptions about welfare and "revealed preferences." Remove those patently unwarranted assumptions and the whole edifice comes tumbling down. Oh, but "relax" them cleverly and you might win a dissertation and even an assistant professorship. It is this phony game of provisional relaxation and perpetual restoration that demarcates the bounds of acceptable dissent in the discipline.

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