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Is Economics Becoming A Real Science?
AUTHOR
IN THIS ARTICLE
Economy
Joe Brewer
Joe Brewer
is a complexity researcher who specializes in culture design. He is culture editor for This View of Life and co-founder of Evonomics.

Have you noticed how the field of economics is splintered and divided into factions? How it can’t seem to get its act together? That mainstream economists can’t agree whether we should use austerity measures or financial stimulus? Ask three economists what the best policy is for a given circumstance and you’ll get four opinions — or so the story goes.

There is a reason why economics is so messed up. It is going through what philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn calls a scientific revolution, a paradigm shift where the splintered factions are so broken that only a new way of conceptualizing the whole edifice will bring it back into a newly formed (and different) whole. This is what financial analyst George Cooper describes in his excellent book Money, Blood and Revolution: How Darwin and the Doctor of King Charles I Could Turn Economics into a Science.

I really can’t recommend this book highly enough. Cooper (who happens to be a friend since joining our Evonomics Project as an expert advisor) walks us through a highly accessible history of scientific revolutions — the birth of astronomy, founding of modern medicine, discovery of natural selection, and confirmation of plate tectonics — to show us how they work. He then applies this conceptual scalpel to the field of economics. His diagnoses is simple. It is a field in the turmoil of birthing, not yet a science but almost there.

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The book culminates with a powerful articulation of what the new paradigm might be, inspired by key metaphors of circulation (in the theory of blood flow from medical science) and natural selection (from evolutionary studies).

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Get your copy today and help accelerate the creation of a true economic science. The world desperately needs one, that’s for sure!

7 Comments

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7 Comments

  1. crmciver says:

    This was well worth the listen. I’ve never studied economics. Trying to learn a bit about it I was very discouraged. Now I can say both it was the fault of economics, and there’s an exciting future ahead. Economics may soon make sense. Thanks!

  2. Ted Howard NZ says:

    Makes some sense, but actually misses the major systemic issue of our times.

    All exchange based measures of value (markets, money) are based in scarcity, and cannot attribute a non-zero value to universal abundance.

    We now have the technological capacity to deliver universal abundance of a large and growing set of goods and services, but there is zero economic incentive within a market based system to do so. If you doubt this, just think about oxygen in the air, arguably the single most important thing for any human being, yet of zero value in any market, due to its universal abundance.

    He is correct in a limited sense, but does not address the power of automated technology to deliver universal abundance.

    My thesis is that markets are reaching the end of their social utility, as we transition from a history where scarcity was real, to a future characterised by universal abundance of all essential and most desirable goods and services.

    We need to update our mindsets and measures of value to deal with the new reality, rather than creating legislative and social methods of maintaining scarcity and limiting the growth of awareness.

  3. Robert Searle says:

    The key probably to the future is Transfinancial Economics. It represents a genuine breakthrough as to how many big issues of humanity can be dealt with successfully. See the following link for more info link to p2pfoundation.net

  4. […] Is Economics Becoming A Real Science? […]

  5. Mats L says:

    Economics is preparadigmatic in Kuhn’s terminology. This is important because you cannot create a new model, in which the old is a special case. Are you becoming another INET?

    I would also advice the interviewer to stop smiling like he is in love. It is not professional. Sorry to be blunt, but trying to be helpful.

  6. Helga Vieirch says:

    No model of economy can be scientific unless it incorporates BOTH evolutionary and ecological principles. In other words, accept that human economies are cultural in nature, with “market” economic systems being only one small and recent subset; accept that economic activities are a subset of human interaction with a larger planetary ecosystem, activities which today can cause massive change in climates, landscapes, and species composition; accept that humans are animals that can overshoot sustainable population limits and experience catastrophic collapse.
    Nice try, “evonomics”, but no cigar.