Monday, December 03, 2018

Solution Precedes Formula

I’m not going to link to the source because what he’s saying could have been said by any economist. It’s gibberish having to do with a discussion between economists regarding whether foreign trade increases or decreases productivity in the domestic economy. Suffice it to say, the discussion is a clear and convincing example of why we should not take economists seriously.

He begins his argument by saying that, “Gross output in the growing sector is (sum i = 1 to N of x_i^alpha)L1^(1-alpha)…” because economists love mathmatical formulas. Individual future performance can be predicted by past performance to some degree, but mass behavior is a different crittur, as the 2016 election demonstrated.

Economists get around this problem by making their math formulas so complex that solution of them is possible only by economists, who don’t actually solve them. They just present the desired result as being the solution of the formula.

As evidence of that, the guy goes on to say, “I am willing to bet you could whip up a model (a.k.a. math formula) where trade causes high productivity growth within 15 minutes.”

Of course he can. “Whipping up” a formula to prove a foregone conclusion is much like conducting a trial process specifically to prove that a particular drug works and is safe. That’s how we get drugs on the market that kill people.

And this writer illustrates why economists are astonished when debt levels increase to the point that the economy implodes, because their “whipped up” formulas proved that it could never happen.

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