Taleb on Mathematical Economics

16 November 2006 at 10:02 am 3 comments

| Peter Klein |

More on Nassim Taleb: From Bob Murphy I learn of this passage from Taleb’s Fooled by Randomness:

What has gone with the development of economics as a science? Answer: There was a bunch of intelligent people who felt compelled to use mathematics just to tell themselves that they were rigorous in their thinking, that theirs was a science. Someone in a great rush decided to introduce mathematical modeling techniques (culprits: Leon Walras, Gerard Debreu, Paul Samuelson) without considering the fact that either the class of mathematics they were using was too restrictive for the class of problems they were dealing with, or that perhaps they should be aware that the precision of the language of mathematics could lead people to believe that they had solutions when in fact they had none. . . . Indeed the mathematics they dealt with did not work in the real world, possibly because we needed richer classes of processes — and they refused to accept the fact that no mathematics at all was probably better. (p. 177)

Entry filed under: - Foss -.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Michael Greinecker  |  5 December 2006 at 2:15 pm

    That´s the tail waging the dog. Mathematics didn’t limit the scope of economics, it simply clarified the cases in which some economic arguments work.

  • 2. Peter Klein  |  5 December 2006 at 5:36 pm

    Michael, I think the two parts of your second sentence can be treated independently. In other words, even if mathematics does clarify as you describe, it may still limit the scope of economics, simply by ruling out-of-bounds those arguments that cannot be expressed mathematically.

  • […] párrafo de Nassim Taleb, encontrado por aquí que tampoco tiene desperdicio. Taleb es una de esas personas cuyo mayor hobbie, como dice en su […]

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