Why Economics Is Like Music

September 10, 2013 in Daily Bulletin

Alex Rosenberg and Tyler Curtain pondered “is economics all bunk?”

  • Students who graduate with a degree on economics normally get a “bachelor of science” yet unlike with the other “hard” sciences economics has not improved its predictive power over the years.
  • It is easy to mistake economics for science. It uses the same equations and theorems, and there are parallels in some of the assumptions the two fields make. Despite the scientific rigor though economic though has not become more accurate over time.
  • Perhaps the best indication that economics is not a science is that economists often refuse to adjust their theories – even in the face of conflicting evidence.
  • Yet economics isn’t completely useless. It shows us how to manage and fix institutions such as the Federal Reserve, or create new ones such as electromagnetic spectrum auctions.
  • Thus economic theory is more like music theory than Newtonian theory – expertise can help to produce harmony and not much more.

You can read the full argument here.

Source: The New York Times