I’m not exactly Jack Handey, but I’ll give this a try. It’s ironic, because I used to be a humor writer and now I’m taking a humor icon and turning it somber and serious. Life happens.
In hard sciences nobody has the audacity to try to change the laws of nature. They are what they are, and scientists attempt to use the laws of nature to navigate towards specific goals. The more they find out about the laws of nature, the more they can use them to construct outcomes. This is the long form description of “technology”.
It’s what physicists do, it’s what chemists do, it’s what (some) ecologists and psychologists do, but it’s not what most economists do. Notice that the more macro you get, the more politics interferes. There are almost no political physicists. Not to say there aren’t physicists who have political opinions, but almost none of them allow politics to infect their scientific thinking. There are no politics as to where a rocket will go when fueled with x at y trajectory. Same with chemistry, one level macro above physics. Biology you start having political biologists somewhat when it comes to the “gender pay gap” and whatever other nonsense explained by “biology”, but there’s not so much. Biology is macro-chemistry.
When you get to ecology/psychology, which are both macro-biology, you start getting political. Climatologists and other soothsayers are surveyed by the government about what laws should be passed for carbon footprints and whatnot. Psychologists often advocate government interference for a bunch of stuff. Those reading this who believe in global climate warming change should know that my carbon footprint is astronomically small for my economic position (which is not high, but I live quite beneath my means), so don’t give me any crap please. I’d bet it’s smaller than most climate global change warming activists.
By the time you get to economics, which is macro-psychology and macro-ecology, almost everything is political. Economists do not respect the immutable laws of economics. They attempt to change them. Supply and demand no longer apply when they can be changed by politics. Minimum wage doesn’t unemploy those whose labor is not worth minimum wage. Increasing the quantity of money does not decrease purchasing power. Supply and demand doesn’t apply all the time. Free markets don’t always work, like gravity always works. Etc. But supply and demand actually do, always, work, which means minimum wage causes unemployment, the end. But this is ignored by most “economists”.
The humbling thing about economics is that its laws cannot ever be changed. And people desperately want to change lives by force. It is the drive for power. Someone figures out the laws of motion and can create a rocket. By the time you get to economics, you are dealing with free will of human beings, which has a divine quality to it. If the laws of physics and biology are immutable, so are the laws of economics. Everything is one system.
And that is the difficulty of being a real economist. You cannot use your knowledge to tinker with the system, without betraying the knowledge you have learned. Once you try to tinker through politics, you start playing God with human lives without their consent. With biology you can tinker with human lives, but only with their consent. With economics, suddenly it’s OK to tinker with the entire human population with impunity? No. It is not.
This is why economics, real economics, is the most important subject in the world to learn, understand. The smartest people in the world think they can interfere with good results. They are all, 100%, absolutely wrong. Only the Austrian School understands this.
2 thoughts on “Deep Praxeological Thoughts by Rafi Farber”
If any significant percentage of economists and scholars of economics disagree with you, wouldn’t that by its very nature mean that the position is not axiomatic?
No, what other people think has no effect on logical deduction. No matter how many people believe that 2+2=5 does not make it true. Even if all economists stopped believing that supply and demand applies to minimum wage policy does not change the nature of reality.
If price is set above market clearing rates, you will have a surplus of unsold supply, in every case, with no exceptions ever. That means if you set the price of any given labor higher than free market rates, you will have unsold labor, AKA unemployment. Period. End of story. IF people who call themselves economists disagree, it makes no difference.