Piet Keizer (2015), Analysis Without Synthesis Makes The World Fall Apart, Essays on Multidisciplinary Economics, 1, 2015; http://www.Pietkeizer.com
The history of scientific method is characterized by many methodological divides. As soon as someone makes a distinction between A and B, some people commit themselves to A, while others focus their strategies on B. From then on the different groups of people barely communicate with each other anymore. Now and then methodologists – some defending position A, others defending B – are battling about the differences (in German: Methodenstreit). After a while they stop battling, without satisfactory results most of the time. In section 2 we will shortly discuss a number of distinctions, that have become divides. In section 3 we discuss three basic philosophical questions, which are about ontology, epistemology, and about methodology in the narrow sense of the word. In section 4 and 5 we discuss the structure of knowledge and the methodological research strategy, which could be followed, respectively. In section 6 we draw a few conclusions.
Posted in Multidisciplinairy Economics
Tagged analysis, closed versus open system, dual concepts, epitemology, hypothesis, macro versus micro-analysis, mechanic versus organic, methodology, ontology, paradigm, specialization versus integration, staic versus dynamic versus historical, synthesis, theory
Piet Keizer, Multidisciplinary Economics, A Methodological Account,
Oxford University Press, May, 2015.
When the global economy was hit by a severe financial crisis, mainstream economists were surprised. The global financial system appeared very fragile, especially in the North-western world. Now – five years later – the European economy is still in a depression. The unemployment figures, especially in the Southern part are unacceptably high, and there are no clear signs that we are at the brink of a new period. An important reason for the failure of Europeans to solve their economic problems can be found in the inadequacy of economic science as it manifests itself for a long time already. The official institutions like the central banks, the ministries of finance, and even the trade union organisations show a lack of vision. In The Netherlands prime-minister Rutte has no clue what to do, except the implementation of a classical-liberal programme: smaller governments!
About forty years now I work on an alternative vision of economic science. During
Syriza, an Opportunity for Greece ánd Europe
It might be historic, the victory of Syriza in the Greek elections of 25 January 2015. It offers Greece and Europe the chance to break the trend of ineffective neoliberal policies, as advocated by the Trojka (EU, ECB, IMF).
The most important barrier to renewed full employment and growth of well-being is of a psychic-social nature, which is the cognitive capture of the Germans and the Dutch (Keizer 2015). This short essay discusses the role of Greece as the scape-goat of the euro zone (section 2), a realistic alternative in case the Germans and the Dutch open their minds (section 3), and the way the euro zone can deal with the claims put on the table by Syriza (section 4).
The ECB supports banks, not the economy
Recently the ECB announced a new round of quantitative easing (QE): the ECB buys large volumes of (bad) financial paper, so as to improve the financial situation of banks. By doing this the ECB hopes to improve the trust of investors in the economy. In this short essay we will explain why this policy will not contribute to the necessary recovery in terms of employment and growth in well-being of the mass of the people. More effective methods, such as monetary financing of government investments, are excluded by the Maastricht Treaty.
In section 2 we explain why monetary policy in a balanced economy is quite different from monetary policy in an economy, which is out of balance (Leijonhufvud, 2009). In section 3 we discuss the way we should tackle the European macroeconomic problem. In section 4 we draw a few conclusions.
Posted in Economy And Society, European Economy, Multidisciplinairy Economics
Tagged banking system, depression, high corridor, Leijonhufvud, low corridor, market dsequilibrium, monetary order, pessimism, post-Keynesians
Jared Diamond on The World Until Yesterday
What makes the analysis of traditional societies ( before about 9000 years BC) so important for us, living in a modern world.
- In many basic ways we are not all the same; traditional societies: different system of counting; different way of selecting wives and husbands; different way of treating children; different view on how to react on danger; different concept of friendship.
- Traditional life styles are what shaped us; now we are used to farm-grown and store-bought food rather than wild food hunted and gathered daily. Now the use of tools of metal rather than of stone and wood and bone. Now we are going to court rather than using traditional informal mechanisms. Traditional life styles show more diversity: in some cases elderly people are treated very cruel relative to other traditional societies where they are more cherished. Western industrial societies’ are studied by psychologists, but their experimental subjects are typical WEIRD-persons: western, educated, industrialised, rich, democratic society.
The opposite of traditional societies are the modern states; state means not only “condition”, but also ‘large society with centralised bureaucratic government’. States need police, laws, and codes of morality to ensure that the inevitable constant encounters between strangers don’t routinely explode into fights. Societies larger than 10,000 people need a state: leaders, executives, bureaucrats. States try to create order, even though the distribution of resources is unequal to some extent.
Posted in Economy And Society, Multidisciplinairy Economics
Tagged ancient socities, democratic, educated, herds, industrialised, methodology, modern states, primitivity, regional differences, rich, WEIRD: western
The Problem of Inequality: Stiglitz > Acemoglu > Piketty
Not only Acemoglu and Piketty published a book on inequality in 2012 – so did Stiglitz. The books became widely known and were subject of academic and public debate. In this text I want to make a comparison in terms of theoretical and practical importance. The text will be published on my website – www.pietkeizer.nl – where the reader also find comments on the books by Acemoglu and Piketty already. Here we stick to a short characterization of their approaches. Stiglitz, however, will be discussed more thoroughly. Then we will compare and contrast the three books, especially from a methodological point. We will see that there are differences in the language, which are used by the three authors. Examples of important concepts are structure, institution and system. We first
Are Financial Wars our Future?
Over time we see an increasing share of fiduciary money in the total of money supply. In earlier times particular goods functioned as money, such as pigs and chicken. Later gold was very effective in its functioning as money. When storehouses began to lend money to people, thereby increasing the amount of money in circulation, part of the money become fiduciary, which means that money has no intrinsic value. The nominal value, as printed on coins and notes, was based on the confidence of the money-holders that the mass of the people would accept the nominal value of the money. In the Western world banks considered their gold stocks as the means to keep the confidence of the people intact. The higher the ratio of money in circulation relative to the stock of gold in the vaults of the bank, the more fragile the bank(s) and the monetary system. During the 20s and 30s of the previous century, an increasing number of Western countries dropped their gold standard: substitution of gold in exchange for money was not possible anymore.
Protestantism and Economic Development
There is much empirical research with respect to the relationship between Protestantism and economic development. Especially in the fields of economic history, social economics and economic sociology the hypothesis which says that higher proportions of the population being member of a protestant church correlate with higher levels of wealth. It all started with the thesis by Max Weber, who saw a relationship between Protestant individualism and entrepreneurship.
We define Protestantism as a movement of Christian people, who see themselves as stewards of the earth. God has created a world full of treasuries, including humans, who are gifted with talents, which can be developed and used to live a meaningful life. In this essay we will discuss the theoretical foundations of the above-mentioned empirical relationship. Especially the idea of Protestantism will be considered. In the next section we will discuss ideal-typical Protestantism. In a third section we will consider realistic specifications of protestant culture and attitudes. A last section concludes.