Trent0405: A massive concern of an economist is also public welfare, an economist will never support a policy if it is a net negative on society as a whole.
I don’t think the term ‘massive concern of an economist’ is supported by the link you just provided. If anything, the link supports my position that, because economists are traditionally focussed on a relatively small subset of metrics, a few have recently shown interest in expanding their field of determinants to include the currently in vogue idea of ‘happiness’.
Your claim that an economist ‘will never support a policy if it has a net negative on society as a whole’ is just not true and makes the false assumption that all economists are unbiased, uninfluenced characters, who work for companies and groups with no objectives to protect the interest of their shareholders and affiliates, and that those objectives will never run contrary to objectives serving the good of society as a whole. That is just false.
Finally, and even if you were right (in that, all economists are unbiased entities), my claim is that mainstream economics (particularly in macroeconomics) is terrible at understanding the reality of human behaviour, and as such, whether intentionally or unintentionally, their models and theories will lead to, if left to their own devices, the adoption of policies that could potentially have a ‘negative impact on society as a whole’.
A single case in point being (but I could provide hundreds of others): the reliance on flawed models that contributed to the scale of the 2008 crash – by encouraging decision-makers to underestimate risks.
Trent0405: I saw you point to sustainability, but again, economists do care about sustainability.......You also pointed to social equity, but economists want to make sure some measures are put in place to make people more equal.......This is an example of an economist who doesn’t want the gains to be so lopsided, he deeply cares about equality, as do practically all economists. You pointed to crime, and again, economists care about crime....economists care about public transport as well.....
It doesn’t really matter what their subject of interest might be. Like i pointed to earlier, economists are affiliated to separate companies and groups with defined objectives and interests. Those objectives and interests might be very different, and therefore, we shouldn’t be surprised that, for example, in the case of an economist working for a company that seeks to exploit the benefits of carbon tax, he will also be interested in the field of sustainability.
Firstly, and just because he has an interest in the topic of sustainability doesn’t mean he is a non-biased entity and that his work won’t be influenced by this. Secondly, if the theory or the mathematical model is over simplistic or incorrect, his conclusions might also be.
My primary argument was not necessarily that the field of economics is too narrow and focused, but that the field is just bad at modelling and understanding society and human behaviour as a whole.
Trent0405: My first link does not show that, it merely shows that economists are against rent control, not the way they came to their conclusions......You will see a wide variety of reasons for their decisions which highlights the wonderful beauty of economics, and the brilliance of the people who study economics.
I read their comments. Almost every comment points to the supply and demand theory, in one way or other, and it was the basis on which they made their decision. I did not see a ‘wide variety of reasons for their decisions’. They all used slightly different language to denote the supply and demand theory. I also did not observe the ‘wonderful beauty of economics’.
If variety denotes beauty, it cannot be viewed as beautiful. If accuracy and high predictability value denote beauty, it would also not be beautiful.
Trent0405: Also, if “economics is not a difficult field” then why is there so much disagreement amongst economists....Economists have the same facts and can come to completely different conclusions. If economics is simple why is there so much research done on it, and why is there so much less research done on urban planning if it’s so much more complicated?
I’m not sure what difficulty has to do with disagreement here. Why would a difficult field lead to more disagreement within that given field?
Can economists have different facts? Yes. And, if their models were adequately descriptive of reality you actually wouldn’t expect them to reach this level disagreement and coming to ‘ completely different conclusions’.
Also I ’m not sure what the over-simplicity of mathematical models in economics has to do with the amount of research ‘done on it.
Trent0405: I know I've thrown a good amount of links at you, but my young age and my lacklustre understanding of economics and urban planning basically force me to do so.
It’s a good sign, and we are all in the same boat. No one can really know enough about topics like these: which are so large in scope and multidisciplinary.