Saturday, May 26, 2007

Economics, science and blogs

An interesting post by Hendrickson that open with this quote from Hayek:
  • It is an approach which has come to be described as the 'scientistic' attitude - an attitude which, as I defined it some thirty years ago, 'is decidedly unscientific in the true sense of the word, since it involves a mechanical and uncritical application of habits of thought to fields different from those in which they have been formed.'
Hayek realised that many attempts to blindly use numbers as a sheen for "science" were in fact obscuring a profoundly non-scientific approach to a subject. Hayek was discussing the state of economics but his comments are equally valid today to a whole range of subjects from climate change to species extinction.

Hendrickson goes on to discuss the emergence of a new trend within economics:
  • While Levitt's arguments certainly have merit, his thesis is not what struck me as important. Levitt's musings were not published in a leading economic journal, but rather on his blog. Further, the comments were not accompanied by an econometric model that attempted to explain quality. In fact, especially poignant was that his writing was purely philosophical and based on simple economic principles.
What is causing economics to be revitalised and re-focused as a discipline is the increased and emergent use of blogs as a media for intellectual exchange.

This trend is likely to continue, as blogs allow for both a more immediate exchange of ideas and an interaction that is trans disciplinary: both features of contemporary issues in a globalized economy with a surfeit of information from disparate sources.