Syv prinsipper for å diskutere med økonomer.

Noahpinion leverer en smørbrødliste. Nå er ikke Norge det landet i verden hvor økonomer krangler mest, men drar du til Davos denne helga derimot…

Her er #1 og #2:

Principle 1: Credentials are not an argument.

Example: «You say Theory X is wrong…but don’t you know that Theory X is supported by Nobel Prize winners A, B, and C, not to mention famous and distinguished professors D, E, F, G, and H?»

Suggested Retort: Loud, barking laughter.

Alternative Suggested Retort: «Richard Feynman said that ‘Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.’ And you’re not going to argue with HIM, are you?»

Reason You’re Right: Credentials? Gimme a break. Nobody accepts received wisdom from sages these days. Show me the argument!

Principle #2: «All theories are wrong» is false.

Example: «Sure, Theory X fails to forecast any variable of interest or match important features of the data. But don’t you know that all models are wrong? I mean, look at Newton’s Laws…THOSE ended up turning out to be wrong, ha ha ha.»

Suggested Retort: Empty an entire can of Silly String onto anyone who says this. (I carry Silly String expressly for this purpose.)

Alternative Suggested Retort: «Yeah, well, when your theory is anywhere near as useful as Newton’s Laws, come back and see me, K?»

Reason You’re Right: To say models are «wrong» is fatuous semantics; philosophically, models can only have degrees of predictive power within domains of validity. Newton’s Laws are only «wrong» if you are studying something very small or moving very fast. For most everyday applications, Newton’s Laws are very, very right.

#3 – #7 her


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