Copying the Physicists
| Peter Klein |
It’s no secret that mainstream economists hold up physics as the model science. (Critics say that economists never got much beyond nineteenth-century classical mechanics, but never mind.) So why should we be surprised that economists also copy the physicists’ style and manners? From T. A. Abinandanan of the Nanopolitan blog we learn that physicists are widely regarded, by their natural-science brethren, as bullies who wander into other fields without much knowledge of or appreciation for the work of specialists.
The natives of the other disciplines, of course, would grumble because they felt that many of these wandering physicists were promiscuous (with no long term commitment to their field) and, more importantly, arrogant. . . . Among the natives, the joke is that these promiscuous physicists were just looking for interesting problems, because there weren’t any in physics.
Just what we’ve been discussing here and here. Incidentally, on “econophysics,” profiled last year in the New York Times, Abinandanan wisely adds that “[g]iven the reputation of physics and economics in their respective domains (natural and social sciences), econophysics sounds like a marriage between two domineering individuals.”