Consider this critique of physics: Once upon a time the universe was full of magic, mystery, and majesty, wherein humans lived organically and intuitively with nature. But then physicists (and their engineering minions) pretended to know far more than humans can ever know in an irreducibly complex universe. And they pretended to far more objectivity and neutrality in their inquiries than is possible for humans. Using impressive math, physicists rose in status, while other less mathy but more fluid and organic ways of thinking fell in status. Physics concepts became used more widely, displacing other useful and more human but now neglected ways of thinking.
Job's genius came from the fact that he was not a propellor-head. He didn't understand a lot about how computers work. He didn't want something that only geeks know how to work properly. Whenever they showed him a new design that required some geekiness to make it work, he told them to try again. He knew that if he, with his limited computer knowledge, could make the device work, then almost anyone could. Just as Coca-Cola is built on the word "Euphoria," Jobs wanted "Delight." Yes, that's an arty concept, backed up by buildings full of engineers who knew how to translate it from abstract into something we can touch and see.
If Facebook can do it...
Economists cannot make accurate predictions because economics is, well not exactly a science, but the study of human behavior, and humans are frequently irrational.
Economists actually know a lot about the social world, and have tools that can usefully inform social policy. But I can also see how the key institutions that organize economists too often fail to induce us to tell what we know to outsiders
Recently, you wrote the best book on a likely future and opined that the world needs more works like it. Whilst I disagree with some assumptions, I agree with your sentiment. So how valuable would it be if someone applied the same techniques to something in the mid future. A future which most people will live to see e.g. the coming wave of remote work. Do you know if someone is doing something like this?
P.S. I'm curious how you're argument that EMs will reduce future automation affects the economic make up in Age of Em. More people working in entertainment, service, craftsmanship etc?
Shunning isn't exactly the same as banning. I suppose there is still the idea of how to reliably link shunning to lack of usefulness.
Supply and Demand works very well in experimental markets.
What can economists predict with high accuracy? You glossed over that, but the lack of predictive power in econ theories has to be biggest reason for skepticism.
I have long thought about this difference.
The characteristics of applying knowledge and collecting knowledge are different enough to make direct comparison not simple. An example of the first is engineering/technology and physics of the latter. Although some tools are common the actual process is quite different. The first consideration for applying knowledge is whether the effort can be recouped (pay the rent) in a real time frame. The work is undertaken under spec. Success is determined by the market. For physics (science in general) the prime consideration is acceptance ( or non rejection) by the community and so continued work i.e.funding. Effort recovery is not prime as the cost is borne by others mostly the public. Time is also not prime except as inter individual competition. So the motivation can be very different and so the results. This view will not be popular here and I don't really expect any replies but you might think about it. Putting economics into the comparison is even more puzzling.
Life is risk.
I fear the level of coordination required to ban business cycle forecasting would also be used to ban other more useful stuff.
Yah, economists shouldn't be trusted because people listen to them.
Suppose physicists had ideas as diverse as economists - most were mainstream, but there were a few outliers on every dimension.
And suppose those outlier physicists were constantly quoted as "authorities" by people with strong political interests.
For example, suppose one political party wanted to invest $trillions in cold fusion (for reasons unrelated to physics - they just really want to do that), and constantly cited "physicists" as supporting that policy.
Then, unless you're yourself a physicist with strong knowledge of what is and isn't mainstream, you'd be wise to distrust "physics" as portrayed by journalists and politicians.
Or, more plausibly, think about the climate change debate - people on each side have their pet scientists who support policies that they want for reasons unrelated to climate change. That doesn't mean one side is right or wrong, but it does mean that trusting "science" is unwise unless you yourself know enough science to tell the crazies from the competent, and distinguish scientific results motivated by policy preferences vs. results motivated by data and theory.
(Or, think Lysenkoism.)
Economists would be better off spending less effort on predicting the weather. Or at least keeping their attempts to themselves.
They're not good at it, and their attempts discredit the whole field. Unfairly, and vastly reducing the field's influence on social policy.
Of course it's mostly not the economists fault - the world desperately wants weather predictions, and politicians and journalists will take whatever predictions they can get. And hype them.
Maybe economics needs a professional taboo on weather prediction. Any economist who predicts weather should be drummed out of the AEA.
The vast majority of dimensions of Apple products are set by engineering, not design. I did't mean to make claims about the causal direction between physics and engineering practices.
“So in a free competitive world, firms are free to offer products designed and evaluated via “intuitive, magical, arty, and literary approaches.”
Arguably the most successful consumer products of modern times come from Apple, a company famous for its arty and intuitive approach. If you want a basic system that does the job buy a Windows product, but most people desire Apple products. Perhaps the idea that Apple is intuitive and arty is a marketing strategy, but, recalling a Steve Jobs biography I read, Jobs went into craftsman-like detail regarding his products and trusted his intuition to solve design problems—so there’s some truth to the idea of Apple as arty. From a utilitarian perspective it doesn’t matter what the inside of a machine the consumer will never open looks like, but Jobs worried about that.
“Engineers who use physics tend to create system designs that are more like typical physics models, with a small number of simple parts having a few simple relations to one another.”
I think, per Taleb, that the abstract models of physics and mathematics come from engineering and practical activities, not vice versa.
“But consider that the world still has many competing nations, and engineering matters greatly in war, where simple physical parameters are quite meaningful.”
This neglects the realm of strategy; an intuitive domain—a domain where, as Luttwak observes, paradoxical approaches of the type a physicist would rule out as pre-scientific are actually very effective.
Game theory can tell you the rational optimum strategy, but in the world of poker or warfare, where deception is key, understanding the psychology of your opponent—essentially an artistic and intuitive skill—is vital to understanding the type of deception and misdirection employed and to employ. Obviously, this will not help if your opponent has more material and better technology than you.
Hidden Markov model. Works for physics and economics.https://en.wikipedia.org/wi...
This model automatically connects the dots, meets the Lucas criteria. It generates most of the Physics constants, and economic constants, like optimum savings ratio.