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1 Towards Discursive Economics (Methodology and history of economics reconsidered) Vladimir Yefimov
2 Contents 1. Prediction of the economic crisis and discursive economics 2. Discursive ontology for economics 3. Discursive epistemology for economics 4. Discursive economics today 5. Discursive versus neoclassical experimental economics: comparison of methodologies 6. Institutional economics and discursive economics: from repentance to resurrection 7. History of economics and reform of its institution from the social constructionisms point of view
3 Robert Shiller is one of those who succeeded to forecast the crisis. He could understand the coming crisis by paying attention to the dominant among all involved actors discourse concerning housing market.
4 The most important single element to be reckoned with understanding of the housing bubble is the social contagion of boom thinking. A good part of what drives peoples thinking is purely social in nature.
5 a major factor driving housing sales is the expectation that housing prices will be higher in the future The Run-up in Home Prices: Is It Real or Is It Another Bubble? by Dean Baker Center for Economic and Policy Research Washington, D.C.
6 The Social Security system is currently threatened more than ever before in its 64-year history. The problem is not financial, economic, or demographic. Nor is the problem a lack of political support. The problem is that people have become convinced that the program is in serious trouble.
7 Many otherwise intelligent people became obsessed with stock market. Large segments of the public were convinced that the stock market was a perpetual-motion machine, which provided an enormously promising alternative to Social Securitys traditional form of finance: the payroll tax.
8 I guess that the economists who foresaw the crisis did it on the basis of the discursive approach but, as Baker did, but they adapted their presentation to the norms of discourse acceptable in the community of economists. The recent book of Nouriel Roubini, can serve as an example.
9 The Discursive Economics makes analysis of any economic phenomena by analysing discourses of economic actors linked with this phenomena.
10 Why discursive economics? Socio-economic regularities come from the fact that people behave in accordance with certain socially constructed rules. These rules are explained, justified and memorised with the help of certain stories that people say to themselves and to others. In order to reveal these rules and ideas linked with them, i.e. to reveal socio- economic regularities, the researcher should learn and analyse these stories.
11 The Social Construction of Reality (Berger P. and Th. Luckmann, 1966) Institution as typification of habitualized actions Habitualization implies that the actions may be performed again in the future in the same manner and with the same economical effort. In terms of the meaning bestowed by man upon his activity, habitualization makes it unnecessary for each situation to be defined anew. The typifications of habitualized actions are always shared ones. Reciprocal typifications of actions are built up in the course of a shared history. Institutional knowledge as a knowledge that supplies the institutionally appropriate rules of conduct.
12 Rome Harré on discursive approach A persons ability to act and to account for what has been done depend upon his/her stock of social knowledge. If one wants to explain some social phenomena one might say that it was the rule or the convention that made one do it, so that was where the source of causal efficacy in the social world is to be located. People alone among animals can speak [and] people can give accounts of what they are doing, disambiguating their actions and justifying them by reference to rules, conventions and customs. Through the mediation of language there is an unbroken continuum between thought and action. In the Anthropomorphic Model of Man the person is considered not only as agent but also as watcher, commentator and critic.
13 Discursive Turn in Psychology (Harré R. and G. Gillert, The Discursive Mind, 1994) We need to know what a situation means to a person and not what the situation is (as seen by an observer) if we are to understand what the person is doing. The experimenter or the observer has to enter into a discourse with the people being studied and to try to appreciate the shape of the subjects cognitive world. The work of the discursive psychologist is concerned predominantly with language in use as the accomplishment of acts or as attempts of their accomplishments.
14 Two ontologies (Rom Harré, 1994) OntologiesLocative systems EntitiesRelations NewtonianSpace and time Things and events Causality DiscursiveArrays of people Speech acts Rules and story lines
15 Newtons experimental-mathematical method First, the simplification of phenomena by experiments, so that those characteristics of them that vary quantitatively, together with the mode of their variation, may be seized and precisely defined. Second, the mathematical elaboration of such propositions, usually by the aid of the calculus, in such a way as will express mathematically the operation of these principles in whatever quantities or relations they might be found. Third, further exact experiments must be made (1) to verify the applicability of these deductions in any new field and to reduce them to their most general form; (2) in the case of more complex phenomena, to detect the presence and determine the value of any additional causes (in mechanics, forces) which can then themselves be subjected to quantitative treatment; and (3) to suggest, in cases where the nature of such additional causes remains obscure, an expansion of our present mathematical apparatus so as to handle them more objectively. (Burtt, 2003)
16 Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers, Mans New Dialogue with Nature 1984 This dialogue corresponds to a highly specific procedure. Nature is cross- examined through experimentation, as if in a court of law, in the name of a priori principles, Natures answers are recorded with utmost accuracy, but relevance of those answers is assessed in terms of the very idealizations that guided the experiments. All the rest does not count as information, but is idle chatter, negligible secondary effects.
17 Hypothetico-deductive method The first step in testing a scientific theory was to deduce certain empirical predictions from the theory and its initial conditions. The second step was to check these predictions against the observational evidence; if the empirical predictions turned out to be true, the theory was confirmed, and if these predictions turned out to be false, the theory was disconfirmed. In either case, it was not induction, but rather the deductive consequences of a scientific theory, that were relevant to its empirical support Hypothetico-deductive method allowed scientific theories to be based on empirical observations (deductively) without actually being built up from those observations (inductively). (Davis, Hands and Maki, 1998)
18 Testing of theories Cut off from observation as a source of truth, the Cartesian mind puts great on testing to reaffirm its realism. But testing is not a guarantee of correct ideas because, having lost its mooring in reality, the economic mind has created so many conundrums, puzzles and purely mental constructs that testing proves everything and nothing. (Mini, 1994, p. 41)
19 Constructivist social research method 1) Assimilation of institutional knowledge of actors connected with the phenomenon under study on the basis of analysis of discourses. 2) Thick description (Clifford Geertz) on the basis of actors discourse study exposing their meanings concerning the phenomenon under study. Preparation of a thick description can include the elaboration of concepts (if necessary) rooted in qualitative and quantitative data. Thick description contains an understanding of phenomenon under study. 3) Further observation/experiment must be made by changing arrays of people in order to understand the phenomena under study in its most general form, and analysis of appropriate historical data in order to understand historical roots of the phenomenon under study and in this way to deepen their understanding.
20 In Discursive Economics stories are considered and treated as facts It is generally considered unprofessional for economists to base their analyses on stories. On the contrary, we are supposed to stick to the quantitative facts and theory – a theory that is based on optimisation, especially optimisation of economic variables But what if stories themselves move markets? What if these stories of overexplanation have real effects? What if they themselves are a real part of how the economy functions? Then economists have gone overboard. The stories no longer merely explain the facts; they are the facts. (Akerlof and Shiller, 2009)
21 The human mind is built to think in terms of narratives much of human motivation comes from living a story of our lives, a story that we tell to ourselves and that creates a framework of motivation stories and storytelling are fundamental to human knowledge. Peoples memories of essential facts are indexed in brain around stories. Facts that are remembered are attached to stories. Conversation not only serves to communicate information in a form that is readily absorbed, it also serves to reinforce memories related to stories. We tend to forget stories that we do not repeat to others.
22 Identities and norms are easy to observe We observe them in how people talk about their lives. Many people can readily describe how they think they should behave and how others should behave. Transgressions are the stuff of gossip. The outside observer – for example, the visiting anthropologist – need only learn the stories and listen to the gossip to infer the norms.
23 During the recession of the early 1990s, Truman Bewley explored the puzzle why wages and salaries dont fall during the recessions by interviewing over three hundred business executives and labour leaders as well as professional recruiters and advisors to the unemployed.
24 Policies, Institutions and Industrial Development – Coping with Liberalisation and International Competition in India by John Dengbol-Martinussen, I have tried to combine macroeconomic and macro- political analyses with detailed studies of actors perceptions and responses. The latter have been based on a review of public statements, relevant documents as well as interviews with key decision- makers. The aims of the interviews have been to try to determine (a) how policies have been evolved and implemented in practice; (b) how the policies and the mode of implementation have been perceived by those involved in political and administrative decisions and formulation of corporate strategies; and (c) how the organisations and enterprises they represent have reacted in practice.
25 Institutional Economics of Agrarian Transformations in Russia by Vladimir Yefimov, 2003 My analysis was based on about 80 interviews of different types of Russian agricultural actors, and also on different texts such as laws, political and economic programmes, local and national regulations, interventions of political and economic leaders. The historical part of the research, also based on the analysis of texts, explained the roots and dynamics of the revealed rules and beliefs of the present days actors.
26 Discursive versus neoclassical experimental economics: comparison of methodologies Whether participants of the laboratory experiments, players of the gaming sessions, could be students or have to be real actors able to bring to the experiment their professional culture? Whether players may communicate with each other only through computer model making quantitative decisions or would they be obliged to make face to face negotiations before taking any decision? Whether experiments have to be organised just to collect quantitative data on the functioning of economic systems with different economic legislations, or is it necessary to collect qualitative data as well? Whether players have just to fulfil their gaming roles of enterprises managers or government officials, or must they be also involved in the analysis of experiments, during gaming sessions and after the gaming experiment, to help the researchers to make their conclusions?
27 Parlour games and children plays as models of economic behaviour Using the language of notions of the mathematical theory of games, which means the language of parlour games, it is impossible to reflect the most important characteristic of behaviour of the individual in socio- economic systems: his/her role structure. If one wants to construct a theory of economic behaviour on the basis of a mathematical description of behaviour in a game, then he/she would try to make this description for childrens role playing games. However, at present creation of this kind of mathematical construction is probably condemned to failure (Yefimov, 1978).
28 Play and its role in the mental development of the child by Lev Vygotsky, C riteria for distinguishing a childs play activity from his other general forms of activity: in play a child creates an imaginary situation All games with imaginary situations are simultaneously games with rules, and vice versa Action in a situation that is not seen, but only conceived on an imagined level and in an imaginary situation, teaches the child to guide his behaviour not only by immediate perception of objects or by the situation immediately affecting him but also by the meaning of this situation Action according to rules begins to be determined by ideas, not by objects word meanings replace objects. Russian word igra, used by Vygotsky, means at the same time play and game.
29 On the social psychology of the psychological experiment by Martin Orne, 1962 We should like to propose the heuristic assumption that a subject's behavior in any experimental situation will be determined by two sets of variables: (a) those which are traditionally defined as experimental variables and (b) the perceived demand characteristics of the experimental situation. The extent to which the subject's behavior is related to the demand characteristics, rather than to the experimental variable, will in large measure determine both the extent to which the experiment can be replicated with minor modification (i.e., modified demand characteristics) and the extent to which generalizations can be drawn about the effect of the experimental variables in nonexperimental contexts.
30 Crisis in social psychology: The relevance of relevance by Irwin Silverman, 1971 The model of psychological subject as object that has pervaded our research since postintrospectionist times is painfully flawed, and the data we acquire may relate very much to the motives and feelings and thoughts of subjects about their role in the experiment and very little to their lives outside of it.
31 Gaming and Discursive Experimental Economics The main emphasis in gaming experiment is given to joint creative activity of all participants, players included. Their task should not be confined to that of passive examined subjects. It is just the players who, collaborating with the experimenters, must make the main contribution to the solution of the investigated problem. Their gaming activity (the activity while performing the gaming roles) must be a cause, framework and an empirical basis for the research (activity apropos of the game). The participants of a gaming simulation experiment contribute to the solution of the problem in the process of discussions, filling in questionnaires and making reports as well as other types of activity apropos of the game. (Yefimov, 1981, p. 198)
32 Institutional economics and discursive economics: from repentance to resurrection Science and Social Control: The Institutionalist Movement in American Economics Malcolm Rutherford Department of Economics University of Victoria Cambridge University Press First edition (28 Feb 2011)
33 Verein für Sozialpolitik The Verein für Sozialpolitik was conceived as a body to exclusively research the social question to provide scientifically derived, general, and above all, practical information on reform to appeal to the parties of the political middle, the public, legislators, and government officials, it was hoped, would then use this scientific information as a basis for policy decisions, and thereby not blinded by the fog of partisan economics. Vereins standing committee held meetings to nominate and vote on the subjects to be discussed at the conferences. Sets of questions were then raised and parameters set for research and fieldwork (or in the case of surveys, detailed questionnaires were drafted and sent out) by a commissioned expert, and increasingly, groups of experts. The results of these investigations and surveys would then be compiled into summary studies which were circulated before conferences Following the conferences, commissioned studies were published in the Vereins monograph series. (Grimmer-Solem, 2003)
34 John R. Commons as discursive economist [Professor Commons] kept in touch, on one hand, with labour, and on the other, with the management of industry. He mingled with all classes of people. He introduced to his classes people, who were regarded as very dangerous radicals. To him, these people were simply human representatives, whom his students should known face to face. On the other hand, he was just as eager to have his classes know capitalists and leaders of industry. He could admire a labour leader; he could understand the slugger; and he had a great admiration for the big industrial leaders. In order to understand their point of view, he became a member of the Wisconsin Industrial Commission, while on a leave of absence from his university duties (Richard T. Ely).
35 Wisconsin Institutionalism Many of the economic functions of the US government that we take for granted today were the handiwork of Commons and his students in the first half of the twentieth century. (Philip Mirowski, 1987) There cannot have been very many, if any, other professors of economics in the US over the period Commons was at Wisconsin who produced as many graduate students, or whose students had such a marked impact on government legislation and policy. In this sense Commons and his students were extremely successful. What, then, happened to Wisconsin institutionalism, and why did its particular type of economics and economic education suffer a decline in the years that followed? (Malcolm Rutherford, 2006)
36 Why American institutionalism failed The history of economics suggests that survival has often depended upon the ability of doctrine to fit in with the habits of thought of the times. If the next decade demands formal value theory that avoids a discussion of what the economic order is like, institutional economics will fail. If it demands an understanding of our relationship to the world in which we live, it will survive. (Walton H. Hamilton, 1919)
37 Wisconsin Idea The Thanks to the movement for genuinely democratic popular government which Senator La Follette led to overwhelming victory in Wisconsin, that state has become literally a laboratory for wise experimental legislation aiming to secure the social and political betterment of the people as a whole All through the Union we need to learn the Wisconsin lesson of scientific popular self-help, and of patient care in radical legislation. The American people have made up their minds that there is to be a change for the better in their political, their social, and their economic conditions; and the prime need of the present day is practically to develop the new machinery necessary for this new task It is no easy matter to give the public their proper control over corporations and big business, and yet to prevent abuse of that control. Wisconsin has achieved a really remarkable success along each and every one of those lines of difficult endeavor. (The President Theodore Roosevelt, 1912)
38 Todays economists do not understand and reject the discursive approach of American institutionalism The institutionalists seem to have suffered from a methodological confusion regarding the nature of theory. They thought a description was a theory. (Ward, 1966, p. 87) In the interwar period institutionalism was actually the dominant school of economic thought in the US. It lost ground to neoclassical formalism partly because it neglected its own task of underlying theoretical development. It is not difficult to see how institutionalism became bogged down. After establishing the importance of institutions, routines and habits, it underlined the value of largely descriptive work on the nature and function of politico-economic institutions. Whilst this was of value, it became the predominant and almost exclusive practice of institutionalist writers. The institutionalists became data-gatherers par excellence. The error here was largely methodological and epistemological. (Hodgson, 1988, p. 21 – 22)
39 Thorstein Veblen has deviated American Institutionalism from the Schmollerian tradition His critique of the German historical school: The whole broad range of erudition and research that engaged the energies of that school commonly falls short of being science, in that, when consistent, they have contented themselves with an enumeration of data and a narrative account of industrial development, and have not presumed to offer a theory of anything or to elaborate their results into a consistent body of knowledge (Veblen, 1898). His naïve conception of science (Mirowski, 1987): Science creates nothing but theories. It knows nothing of policy or utility, or better or worse. None of all that is comprised in what is to-day accounted scientific knowledge. Wisdom and proficiency of the pragmatic sort does not contribute to the advance of a knowledge of fact. It has only an incidental bearing on scientific research, and its bearing is chiefly that of inhibition and misdirection (Veblen, 1906).
40 Professor Sir Karl Popper Rom Harré, 1994 He was the last of the great logicians, the most systematic, the most consistent and the most ruthless in pushing a logical programme of philosophical research through. The failure of Popper's projects shows us in a dramatic way the limitations of the rationalist ideal when it is worked out in terms of logic. Human beings do, I believe, use rational procedures but they have to be understood in relation to much richer patterns of thought and language than can be captured in the patterns of the traditional logics of truth and falsity.
41 « Why I am not a constructivist. Confessions of an unrepentant Popperian » Mark Blaug, I know that Popper enjoys little esteem among professional philosophers pf science. I know that there are real weaknesses and perhaps even damaging flaws in his position. But I still believe that much of the letter and certainly all of the spirit of this theory come closer to my deep-held convictions about methodology of economics than any other philosophical thinker.
42 Institution of Economics (rules) Rules concerning professors Rules concerning professors Rules concerning students Rules concerning students Rules concerning curriculum Rules concerning curriculum Rules concerning examinations Rules concerning examinations Rules concerning research Rules concerning research Rules concerning publications Rules concerning publications Rules of professional organisations Rules of professional organisations
43 Institution of Economics (beliefs) What is scientific research? What is scientific research? What is the objective of scientific research? What is the objective of scientific research? What to study? What to study? How to study? How to study? What form the result of a study should take? What form the result of a study should take?
44 Fig. 1. Sources of institutional knowledge of the modern institution of economics Institutional knowledge of the modern institution of economics Anglo-Saxon institution of university of the 19th century Moral and Political Philosophy of the 18th and 19th centuries Analytical structure of mid 19th century physics
45 Anglo-Saxon institution of university of the 19th century By and large, the purpose of higher education in pre-Civil War America was to teach piety and discipline. The vast majority of faculty were involved in preaching and missionary work The first American textbooks were written by clergymen, and a religious understanding of economic activity was pervasive. Capitalism and the laws of political economy were thought to be in harmony with the laws of god and consistent with the higher purpose of moral elevation. University leaders (presidents and boards alike) often favoured [economics and other social sciences] as secular substitutes for religion and saw in them a continuation of the old courses in moral philosophy. (Fourcade, 2009)
46 Moral and Political Philosophy of the 18th and 19th centuries Paley's Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy was one of the most influential philosophical texts in late Enlightenment Britain. It was cited in several Parliamentary debates over the corn laws in Britain, and in debates in the US Congress. The book remained a set textbook at Cambridge well into the Victorian era. Keynes suggested that Paley was the first of the Cambridge economists. The book can be considered as a collection of justifications of existed social order.
47 The Wealth of Nations as Theology The Enlightenment in Britain was regarded as an opportunity rather than as a threat to established religion. Anglophone economic thought in the eighteenth century was congenial to, and to some extent intertwined with, Christian theology. And the canonical text of the eighteenth-century economic thought, The Wealth of Nations, may be read as congruent with the theological assumptions of Anglican orthodoxy. Nature and its cognates (natural, naturally, unnatural) is one of the most frequently used such family words in Wealth of Nations. Nature is nearly synonymous with the God referred to in Wealth of Nations as Deity. Smiths God/Nature acts in various ways, but always wisely and well. (Waterman, 2004)
48 Economics as Thermodynamics: Mystery of the Marginal Revolution Supposed mystery of "simultaneous discovery" of neoclassical economics in the 1870s and 1880s is dispelled when it is realized that energy physics has filtered down to some textbooks by 1860s, and rapidly becoming the primary metaphor for the discussion of the physical world (Mirowski, 1989). The level of competence in physics among the troika (Léon Walras, William S. Jevons, and Carl Menger) left so much to be desired (Idem.) Mirowski argues that the formulation of neoclassical theory in the 1870s was a "wholesale" metaphorical appropriation of the analytical structure of mid-nineteenth century physics. Neoclassical economics is thus seen not as a "discovery," but as an arbitrary imposition onto social reality of a paradigm taken from an alien field of knowledge (Carlson, 1997). Mengers unfounded claims that he was promoting the methods of Exact research of a Newton, Lavoisier or Helmholtz reveal an ignorance camouflaged by bombast His conception of science was severely Aristotelian … (Mirowski, 1989).
49 Two disputes of methods Methodenstreit, between Gustav Schmoller and Carl Menger can be considered as a renewal of a similar dispute taking place more than two hundred years earlier between Robert Boyle and Thomas Hobbes Verein für Sozialpolitik (1873) - Royal Society of London (1662) The activities of both societies were similar in several respects: they represented efforts to collect data in the framework of experimental situations, working out of detailed reports and collective evaluation of obtained results. The motto of the Royal Society Nullius in Verba (demonstration by facts and not by words) has become the rule at the basis of the institution of natural sciences, the most important feature of the scientific culture. It did not occur in economics where abstract deductive constructions of economists corresponded to deeply enrooted scholastic traditions of European universities to teach theology and linked with it philosophy.
50 Fig. 2. Sources of institutional knowledge for the reform of modern institution of economics Institutional knowledge for the founding another institution of economics Verein für Sozialpoltik Wisconsin Idea Humboldts model of research university Advanced institutional practices in biological sciences
51 Humboldts model of research university The concept of Humboldt considered science not as something accomplished that teachers should transfer to students, but as a problem which has not yet been solved and for its solution the research should never be stopped. According to Humboldt the university teacher is no longer a teacher and the student no longer someone merely engaged in the learning process but a person who undertakes his own research, while the professor directs his research and supports him in it (Wilhelm von Humboldt, )
52 The Vocation of the Scholar by Johann Gottlieb Fichte Einige Vorlesungen über die Bestimmung des Gelehrten (1794). To me, [to the Scholar], is entrusted the culture of my own and following ages; from my labours will proceed the course of future generations, the history of nations who are yet to be. To this am I called, to bear witness to the Truth: my life, my fortunes are of little moment; the results of my life are of infinite moment. I am a Priest of Truth; I am in her pay; I have bound myself to do all things, to venture all things, to suffer all things for her. If I should be persecuted and hated for her sake, if I should even meet death in her service, what wonderful thing is it I shall have done? What but that which I clearly ought to do?
53 John Commons as follower of Fichte [Professor Commons] inspired his students to devote their lives to the improvement of our democratic way of life and our economy of free enterprise, for which he developed in them not only profound admiration, but also an appreciation that American idea is one of continuous progress. As is common with young people, many of Commons students were dissatisfied with things as they are. But they emerged from his classes, indeed, as men who wanted to improve what they thought was wrong, but without destroying our political, economic, and social structure. Commons taught them to see that they must thoroughly know the facts and offer workable proposals for improvements. He told them not only to study all that was written about a given subject, and to reason logically about it, but to make their own observations, and to think in terms of remedies, rather than criticisms, and to learn from the people directly interested. ( Edwin E. Witte )
54 Molecular Genetics The deepest belief of the community of academic economists: A theory is the way we perceive facts, and we cannot perceive facts without a theory (Milton Friedman, 1953). There are however exceptions among members of the community:Applied economists often feel the need for a model before they mine data for a pattern or regularity. Do we really need economic theory to find these regularities? Would it not be better to go in the opposite direction by observing the real world, whether through empirical or experimental data, to find unexpected regularities? Personally I doubt that we need pre conceived theories to find regularities (Ariel Rubinstein, 2006). The reality of research practice in molecular genetics: Much of laboratory science in molecular genetics neither directly draws upon, nor it seems terribly involved with establishing, theoretical representations. In molecular genetics, theoretical statements may indeed be post hoc representations of materials (Karin Knor Cetina, 1991).
55 Neuroendocrinology Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar. Laboratory Life: The Social Construction of Scientific Facts (1979). Bruno Latour has come to his characteristic of a scientific research, as an investigation dealt with resistance of the object under study to the researcher, on the basis of the research as an anthropologist using participant-observer methods in the study of the functioning of the Laboratory for Neuroendocrinology at the Jonas Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California. Beginning in October 1975 for nearly two years he carried out a kind of ethnographic study of scientific research in this laboratory. In his study he closely followed the intimate processes of scientific work, i.e. every detail of what the scientists do and how and what they think. The book advances a number of observations regarding how scientific work is conducted, including descriptions of the complex relationship between the routine lab practices performed by scientists, the publication of papers, scientific prestige, research finances and other elements of laboratory life.
56 Do scientists really need a PhD? The United States and Europe have long believed that students need to finish a multiyear programme of postgraduate work before they can fully participate in the front rank of research, whether in industry or academia. In Asia, scientific communities instead tend to value directed, practical research. Perhaps the most extreme example of this approach is at the BGI in Shenzen, China the genomic-sequencing juggernaut formerly known as the Beijing Genomics Institute. Some 500 Chinese university students have already signed up to join the BGI after they graduate this summer. There they will help to piece together DNA data from an expanding set of sequences for microbes, plants and animals. The students will join a cohort of young bioinformaticians who get their data from the most advanced sequencing equipment, process them on what will soon be one of the world's fastest computers, collaborate with international leaders of their respective fields, publish as first authors in premier international journals, attend conferences and accept interviews. Nature 464, 7 (4 March 2010)
57 Economics is unwilling to adhere to the epistemological principles which distinguish scientific from other types of intellectual activity because this might jeopardize the position of economists within the larger society as the defender of the dominant faith. Alfred S. Eichner
58 What is Economics now ? The social understanding we gain from modern economics is disappointing, even impoverishing In the face of such limitations, why does economics enjoy such prestige? The awkward possibility arises that the reason is precisely because its modern form is ahistoric, apolitical, asocial This is its service as ideology - not a narrow, consciously self-serving apologia, but a belief system of the kind that accompanies and supports all social orders. The purpose of such belief systems is to provide the moral certitude that is the precondition for political and social peace of mind, as much or more for the dominant elements in any social order as for its subordinate elements Primitive societies have their myths and interpretations of nature, command societies their sacred texts. By no means exclusively, but also by no means in trivial fashion, economics serves that purpose for capitalism as a social order.The social understanding we gain from modern economics is disappointing, even impoverishing In the face of such limitations, why does economics enjoy such prestige? The awkward possibility arises that the reason is precisely because its modern form is ahistoric, apolitical, asocial This is its service as ideology - not a narrow, consciously self-serving apologia, but a belief system of the kind that accompanies and supports all social orders. The purpose of such belief systems is to provide the moral certitude that is the precondition for political and social peace of mind, as much or more for the dominant elements in any social order as for its subordinate elements Primitive societies have their myths and interpretations of nature, command societies their sacred texts. By no means exclusively, but also by no means in trivial fashion, economics serves that purpose for capitalism as a social order. (Robert L. Heilbroner, 2004) Lets develop Another Economics that would be not just a belief system but a useful science.
59 Discursive approach transforms economics in a useful science because: Socio-economic regularities come from the fact that people behave in accordance with certain socially constructed rules. Socio-economic regularities come from the fact that people behave in accordance with certain socially constructed rules. These rules are explained, justified and memorised with the help of certain stories that people say to themselves and to others. These rules are explained, justified and memorised with the help of certain stories that people say to themselves and to others. In order to reveal these rules and ideas linked with them, i.e. to reveal socio-economic regularities, the researcher should learn and analyse these stories. In order to reveal these rules and ideas linked with them, i.e. to reveal socio-economic regularities, the researcher should learn and analyse these stories.