"I sometimes think that the general public would know more about economics if the economists did not exist" - Francis Cripps
Comment @7:22 about the EU gave me a chuckle. Also, I think it's amusing how many Libertarians defended Singapore as some great mecca of freedom - until they realized it was actually a dictatorship!
Do you LK believe as HJC is implying that there is / can be no general economic theory whose assumptions are basicly true ?At least sketches of such a general theory ?I think the "swiss knife" pluralist position is appealing as opposed to neo-classical hegemony. It may sound reasonnable and even "democratic" (since democracy is supposed to imply pluralism). But it is a logically weak position. If reality is to be knowable at all there must be a set of hypotheses that (a) are not demonstrably inconsistent(b) explain / predict what really happens.I would go for some kaleckian framework with uncertainty, realisation constraint, class struggle. Plus more indirectly economical factors like geopolitics (I would bet it is a large part of HJC Singapore riddle). And finally genuine non economic factors like aspects of social life like marriage, sex relations, children - parents relation, violence etc. as traditionnaly studied by anthropology.May be we do not have such a general theory yet and it is thus pragmatic to "use" different theories in a heuristic way. I think we should also reject the idea that stemming from different ethical backgrounds it is acceptable for economists to disagree over factual matters.Even if ethical preferences might be the underlying cause of a theoretical disagreement it should not be confused for a genuine REASON.Just two examples : Hayek prediction about welfare programs being a road to serfdom are plainly false. So is Marx's prediction of the collapse of capitalism and global revolution. No matter what your preferences are about equality, justice, freedom and so on.On a more political / pragmatic level the pluralist case against neoclassical discourse is not as effective as the building of a more realistic general theory, which was already Keynes diagnosis almost a century ago : we must storm the citadel !
(1) "Do you LK believe as HJC is implying that there is / can be no general economic theory whose assumptions are basicly true?"No, I think -- or I would hope -- that this is just a piece of rhetoric from Ha-Joon Chang.(2) regarding the "pluralist position" on epistemology or economic method you're talking about here, it is sometimes called the "Babylonian approach", and is actually advocated by some Post Keynesians. But it is just an absurd outgrowth of Postmodernist truth relativism.This truth relativist shite needs to be thrown out of all serious sciences, not just Post Keynesianism.Starting assumptions must be -- as you say -- defended as empirically and objectively true, consistent and capable of accurately predicting or describing the world.
"On a more political / pragmatic level the pluralist case against neoclassical discourse is not as effective as the building of a more realistic general theory,"Yes, Postmodernist "pluralism" is dead end nonsense. Yanis Varoufakis has warned against it:http://socialdemocracy21stcentury.blogspot.com/2015/02/yanis-varoufakis-on-postmodernism-and.html
See also:Yanis Varoufakis, Joseph Halevi, and Nicholas Theocaraki. 2011. Modern Political Economics: Making Sense of the Post-2008 World. Routledge, Abingdon, UK and New York. p. 298.
Thank you a lot for your quick answer. I am glad that we agree on so fundamental and "old fashion" a point.Some day I hope you will have time to discuss the ties between consistent keynesianism and sensible marxism (if it is not too much of an oxymoron to you ;-) ) as they are found in Kalecki and Joan Robinson to name but two authors (also mentionned by T Paley in the interesting video you posted recently).