Thursday, December 10, 2009

Debreu on economics and "wishful thinking" (amv)

Great statement by the godfather of mathematical economics:

In their endeavors to make their field into a science, economists must renounce a favorite mode of thinking- wishful thinking; they must be impartial spectators of a play in which they are the actors. While they attempt to keep that inhuman stance, they are pressed to give immediate answers to societal questions of immense complexity and thereby to abandon the exacting slowness of the step-by-step scientific approach. Divisions according to methodologies and ideologies, criticism from outside and from inside, and intellectual fashions that sweep our discipline make each one of its steady developments remarkable.

Gerard Debreu, The Mathematization of Economic Theory, AER, 1991, Vol. 81, No. 1, p. 6. This is what I meant here.