04 August 2009

More on rationality

From the comments: Michael Kevane disagrees with me about rationality.

My first reaction is "wow! Michael Kevane is commenting on my blog! He's a proper economics professor and everything!".

My second reaction is "Michael shhh, stop disagreeing in public, the non-economists might be listening! You're just making #9 worse!".

My third, substantive, reaction, is "umm, err, yeah kind of." I mean, of course the rational actor model should not be the ending point of social enquiry, but this is a fighting the barbarians situation where critics think the rational actor model is completely useless because it is unrealistic, when in fact it isn't that unrealistic, and in any case the realism of the model's assumptions don't really matter if it is any good at explaining reality (ala Friedman), which it quite often is.

These people are crazy (this isn't you in particular Kelsey, more anti-economists in general), they aren't well-versed in the rationality approach and have moved on to do interesting research into areas where rationality isn't good at explaining phenomena, they're baying for economist blood because it is evil, and neoclassical economics is equivalent to neoliberal imperialism, and all economists believe in some absurd caricature of homo-economicus, and are evil money-grabbing scum-bags who are probably autistic, and what we really need is a return to socialism, yeah that was good wasn't it, and who needs money anyway, money is evil, wouldn't it be better if we just decreed that everyone had to live in trees and grow our own food, yeah that'd be nice wouldn't it, then we could all just barter instead of having to have money, and live in happy little socialist villages of equality and read Marx all day.

I think I did have some more sober thoughts but I got a bit carried away.

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