Dismal Science


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Publication Topics

Dismal Science

Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsEvans RG
JournalHealthcare Policy [Commentary]
Abstract"No prediction, no science." By this standard, the past year has not been kind to the pretensions of "economic science," Nobel prizes notwithstanding. The issue is more than semantic. As Neil Postman (1992) pointed out, sciences study natural processes that repeat themselves under constant conditions. The social disciplines study practices of human communities that are embedded in history. There are no constant conditions; it is impossible to step into the same river twice (Heraclitus). "Physics envy" has led mainstream economic theorists to attempt to understand their discipline through methods and models borrowed from the natural sciences. (By unfortunate coincidence, these have reinforced a certain class of ideological preconceptions and associated economic interests.) Today the results of this methodological mismatch speak for themselves.
Citation KeyCHSPR 09:09