Saturday, November 12, 2011

Why can't economists agree?

Isn't economics really just a lot of numbers and math? So, why can't economists agree on... just about anything? Ah, well, yes, maybe there is a lot of numbers and math, but there are also a lot of assumptions behind that math and a lot of interpretation of the numbers and the mathematical results and subjective values on those interpretations. In fact, it is all such a mess that economists refer to "schools of economic thought", which basic means groups of people who can't with other groups of people. The Wikipedia gives us this list of 27 schools of economic thought (and more!):
  1. Ancient economic thought
  2. Islamic economics
  3. Scholasticism
  4. Mercantilism
  5. Physiocrats
  6. Classical political economy
  7. American (National) School
  8. French liberal school
  9. German historical school
  10. English historical school
  11. French historical school
  12. Utopian economics
  13. Marxian economics
  14. State socialism
  15. Ricardian socialism
  16. Anarchist economics
  17. Distributism
  18. Institutional economics
  19. New institutional economics
  20. Neoclassical economics
  21. Lausanne school
  22. Austrian school
  23. Stockholm school
  24. Keynesian economics
  25. Chicago school
  26. Carnegie school
  27. Neo-Ricardianism
  28. Modern schools
  29. Current heterodox schools
  30. Other 20th century schools
  31. Viewpoints within mainstream economics
  32. Viewpoints outside economics
Even to get agreement between the prominent Chicago, Austrian, and Keynesian schools  would be difficult enough, but we have so many diverse views on so many of the factors that influence how the basic numbers and math of economics are interpreted. Even for seemingly simply issues such as the role of government in commerce.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home