Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Practice of Praxeology

In Economics, like any other major, if your studying it you get to hear the same load of clichéd statements about it when you tell strangers what you are studying (these are listed below):

"Economics, the study of money"
"Economics, the dismal science"
"Economics, the science of decision making"
"Economics, what do you think about the recession?"

Though, the occurrence of facing these statements often seems very daunting (especially the last one, which always makes me cringe and think, "ok here we go again.") I can always try to take something from these statements about what the general person thinks of the discipline of economics.

To these people economics is something thats somewhat abstracted and in some cases overly simplified. The one I agree with the most is the idea of economics as being the science of decision making. This view is very similar to that of what Hoppe sites Mises as having. The idea of Economics being a "Praxeolgy." I can agree with this when I think of base economic theory, I think of pure logic. So much of economics is reliant on simple logic and I think this is a notion that those in the Austrian school have which is spot on with the foundation of the economic way of thinking.

However, I think that there is more. I want to recognize that if economics is to be taken seriously it needs to have an approach that utilizes multiple angles. And this is were I disagree with the Austrians. I believe that both the application of logic and empiric practices are necessary for the advancement of the field. I don't believe that a scientific approach has hurt the way economics is. We already face the challenge of studying something so huge and every changing it would be ignorant to add the constraints as to how we are to study our dynamic systems of production and exchange.

As my brother stated when I was talking to him about Econ grad school programs last year, "Macro is dead...Experimental is where it's at." The attacks on the empirical scientific study of economics in this weeks reading is focused on taking down the Keynesian macro models, which center on the idea of "oh, if we can find the trends we can also control the economy to a certain extent." However, the branch of economics which has been developing and progressing at an increasing rate (experimental economics) also has an empirical focus, but it is going in a whole different direction then ol' macro and this should be recognized.

If we think right down to the basic idea of "praxeology"/logic, it makes sense to develop and use multiple ways of looking at both the aggregate economy and its individual decision makers with both a logical and scientific approaches, as economics is a discipline which has developed over time in a dynamic manner....it's an ever ongoing process there is no reason to add constrains as to how we should look at it but moreover we should ask what we can learn? and how can we apply this learning?

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