"The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design." [The Fatal Conceit, p. 76]I guess few economists understand this. After all, the models economists rely on assuming complete knowledge. Even the "tools" they use, such a benefit cost analysis, presume that an economist, or perhaps two or three working together, can come to know enough to calculate the benefits and costs of public expenditures and public policy changes. Instead of attempting to "demonstrate" how little they know, they attempt to demonstrate how the complete knowledge models of a static world can help people and governments make better decisions in a real world of adaptation and evolution. Few economists seem to think the world they study is a world of adaptation and evolution.
Monday, November 17, 2008