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Is Economics a science or a social science?

Benshapiro
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8/9/2015 5:56:43 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I think so, because Economics is fundamentally the study of human behavior. Human beings have free will and their behavior can never be predicted with any degree of certainty. Human behavior can't be predicted in a similar fashion to predicting the motion of planets. What do you think?
ResponsiblyIrresponsible
Posts: 12,398
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8/9/2015 6:16:33 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/9/2015 5:56:43 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
I think so, because Economics is fundamentally the study of human behavior. Human beings have free will and their behavior can never be predicted with any degree of certainty. Human behavior can't be predicted in a similar fashion to predicting the motion of planets. What do you think?

It's a social science for sure. There are econometric models that often make us *think* that economic actors will behave in a scientific way, but economics is predominantly probabilistic: we can predict how people will respond to a change in policy, and in many cases we're right, but there are probably four or five explanatory variables thrown into the residual that we might not ever be able to account for.

A good example is a Cobb-Douglas production function. This model stipulates that economic growth over the longer run is a function of capital, labor, and technology. The problem, of course, is that we have no way to actually measure "technology." People have tried, but failed. Therefore, we throw it into the residual -- what is called the "Solow Residual." It's imperfect, but it gets the job done.
~ResponsiblyIrresponsible

DDO's Economics Messiah
SFEcon
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8/28/2015 5:10:17 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Permit me to disagree. Purely instinctual beings " ants, termites, bees, et al " show us dynamically stable macro economies. I suggest the more productive view is to see humanity as the higher primate who has invented civilization in order to achieve the efficiencies of the hive for a comparatively powerful and dexterous being.

I find this view productive in that the hive/civilization is not encoded in our biology, and we must therefore use artificial means to preserve our civility. Where social insects exchange pheromones to inform one another about what is to be done to maximize utility in their societies, people exchange money to direct the economy toward the optimum realization of their economic potential. Just as insect societies can be driven into chaos by artificial injections of pheromones, human societies can be driven into chaos by corruption of the monetary structure.

The study of what we might agree to call "materialism" admittedly fails to consider all of what holds a human society together, but the material basis of civilization is still sine qua non. For that reason, I think that materialism should be examined in rigorously scientific terms.

Moreover, I think this is possible given a solution to the classic "economic calculation" (or "socialist computation" or "Vienna") problem. I am willing to defend a resolution to the effect that the calculation problem has in fact been solved many times, and that many of the solutions open avenues of investigation that are well worth pursuing.
DanT
Posts: 5,693
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9/1/2015 7:13:12 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/9/2015 5:56:43 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
I think so, because Economics is fundamentally the study of human behavior. Human beings have free will and their behavior can never be predicted with any degree of certainty. Human behavior can't be predicted in a similar fashion to predicting the motion of planets. What do you think?

I believe you mean to ask "is economics a hard science or a soft science" Economics is indeed a "social science", but it also falls into the broader category of "science" in general.

Social Science, which includes things like Psychology. Linguistics, and of course Economics is a soft science, because it places a greater emphasis on qualitative research in addition to quantitative research.
"Chemical weapons are no different than any other types of weapons."~Lordknukle
DanT
Posts: 5,693
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9/1/2015 7:24:29 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/9/2015 6:16:33 PM, ResponsiblyIrresponsible wrote:
At 8/9/2015 5:56:43 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
I think so, because Economics is fundamentally the study of human behavior. Human beings have free will and their behavior can never be predicted with any degree of certainty. Human behavior can't be predicted in a similar fashion to predicting the motion of planets. What do you think?

It's a social science for sure. There are econometric models that often make us *think* that economic actors will behave in a scientific way, but economics is predominantly probabilistic: we can predict how people will respond to a change in policy, and in many cases we're right, but there are probably four or five explanatory variables thrown into the residual that we might not ever be able to account for.

A good example is a Cobb-Douglas production function. This model stipulates that economic growth over the longer run is a function of capital, labor, and technology. The problem, of course, is that we have no way to actually measure "technology." People have tried, but failed. Therefore, we throw it into the residual -- what is called the "Solow Residual." It's imperfect, but it gets the job done.

The function changes depending on the technology, depending the laborer's KSAs (Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities), and depending on how the capital is used. The reason why this function is important, is because we know what can contribute to growth. Investing in useful advancements in technology helps foster growth (such as ford's assembly line). Investments into human capital fosters growth (such as increasing the quality and degree of relevant education among the workforce). Investing in capital increases growth (such as roads, factories, or equipment).
"Chemical weapons are no different than any other types of weapons."~Lordknukle
ResponsiblyIrresponsible
Posts: 12,398
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9/1/2015 1:41:27 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/1/2015 7:24:29 AM, DanT wrote:
The function changes depending on the technology, depending the laborer's KSAs (Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities), and depending on how the capital is used.

I literally said that, lol.

The reason why this function is important, is because we know what can contribute to growth.

Agreed.

Investing in useful advancements in technology helps foster growth (such as ford's assembly line). Investments into human capital fosters growth (such as increasing the quality and degree of relevant education among the workforce). Investing in capital increases growth (such as roads, factories, or equipment).

I agree.
~ResponsiblyIrresponsible

DDO's Economics Messiah
Electric-Eccentric
Posts: 1,309
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9/1/2015 3:26:34 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
the REAL questions should be:

WHY are there so MANY humans including the governments they choose to rule over them IN DEBT and owe the money changers?

WHY are there so FEW that are 100% DEBT FREE?

If you are not grown up enough to handle your finances, maybe GROWING UP and becoming a responsible human might be WI$E?

I speak from experience and debt free example.

if a person or government is trying to LIVE far beyond their REALISTIC means, then they are acting like little clueless children expecting some sort of magic to sort it all out.

wish in one hand and poo in the other and see what is of substance.
Life is what YOU make it,
Most just try and fake it...
DanT
Posts: 5,693
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9/3/2015 1:26:25 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/1/2015 3:26:34 PM, Electric-Eccentric wrote:
the REAL questions should be:

WHY are there so MANY humans including the governments they choose to rule over them IN DEBT and owe the money changers?

WHY are there so FEW that are 100% DEBT FREE?

If you are not grown up enough to handle your finances, maybe GROWING UP and becoming a responsible human might be WI$E?

There is a difference between being broke and being in debt. Anyone who uses a credit card, has a mortgage, or took out a car loan, is in debt. What determines whether or not someone is broke is not their debt, but rather their equity. Equity is assets after subtracting liabilities aka debt; in other words debt is the portion of your assets owned by creditors, while equity is the portion of your assets which you still own.

When it comes to national debts, the potential to tax is considered an asset. Thus the assets in which the debt is levied against is not just public assets, but also all of the private assets belonging to the taxpaying citizens.

I speak from experience and debt free example.

if a person or government is trying to LIVE far beyond their REALISTIC means, then they are acting like little clueless children expecting some sort of magic to sort it all out.

wish in one hand and poo in the other and see what is of substance.

Acquiring debt is not a bad thing, so long as you leverage your budget wisely. If you invest the borrowed money in generating future revenue, then debt is good, but if you allocate the borrowed money towards fruitless endeavors it just financially strains your organization.

One example of public leveraging would be to invest in infrastructure or technology thereby allowing an increased output. In order to leverage properly you need to think long term, and act short term. Unfortunately politicians don't really care about the long term, they only care about votes.
"Chemical weapons are no different than any other types of weapons."~Lordknukle
Electric-Eccentric
Posts: 1,309
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9/3/2015 3:49:59 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
I understand the "being broke" or short on CA$H money required for paying utility bills and such. I myself having millions in assets that can be turned into cash still have to watch my budgets and spending as the value of precious metals & commodities is constantly changing for the worse as the worldwide debts catch up with those that owe more then "they are worth".

Even Donald Trump had problems raising CASH when he was a BIG shot years back.

I find it interesting that most people find it NORMAL to be in debt to the banks and other money lenders.

Everything I have is as paid for as can be with no banks or others involved.

I never viewed it as wise to be in debt because a person wanted to try and LIVE beyond their reasonable means.

People in DENIAL of their debt will look for excuses and reasons to try and justify their immature handling of their own personal finances.

If a person isn't GROWN UP enough to handle their finances within a BALANCE that they can afford then they are not mature enough in thinking to make other important decisions.

Could be why so many have their make believe Gods and made up scientific theories to place the blame and responsibilities on.

If this world is waiting for some God to balance the budgets and pay the debts or that science will find a way to "scientifically" pay what is owed with pyramid concepts and graphs and spread sheets with built in "curves" and lucky lotto number picking theories and other such EXCUSES that the immature at thought use to try and justify their unwise and childish ways.

If you can't handle and BALANCE your personal finances, how can you be grown up enough to handle the responsibilities of a mature adult?

Economics is what most use when they go to the casinos to see if they can make some EA$Y money, or maybe start up a new business where others will toss money at them and make them rich.
Life is what YOU make it,
Most just try and fake it...
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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9/9/2015 2:07:42 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/1/2015 7:13:12 AM, DanT wrote:
At 8/9/2015 5:56:43 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
I think so, because Economics is fundamentally the study of human behavior. Human beings have free will and their behavior can never be predicted with any degree of certainty. Human behavior can't be predicted in a similar fashion to predicting the motion of planets. What do you think?

I believe you mean to ask "is economics a hard science or a soft science" Economics is indeed a "social science", but it also falls into the broader category of "science" in general.


Social Science, which includes things like Psychology. Linguistics, and of course Economics is a soft science, because it places a greater emphasis on qualitative research in addition to quantitative research.

Careful about linguistics though. There are many different fields of linguistics, and some of them I do consider to be close to social sciences (sociolinguistics, discourse analysis). Others seem to me to approach language from a natural science perspective (neurolinguistics, theoretical syntax, morphology and phonology, experimental phonetics). There are grey areas too (language acquisition, pragmatics).
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

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