Re: Econ: Krugman attacks Bionomics

Robin Hanson (hanson@econ.Berkeley.EDU)
Fri, 31 Oct 1997 16:24:33 -0800


Mark Crosby writes:
>Robin Hanson once responded to me (back around the
>beginning of this year I think) something to the
>effect that economists donít study non-linear models.

I have no recollection or record of saying this,
and economic models are most certainly "non-linear".

>What Rothschildís Bionomics is marketing against (in
>its admittedly simplistic manner) is the old
>Keynesian & Marxist views of the economy. While these
>views are struggling to stay alive they are certainly
>not dead. Paul Krugman is being deceptive or coy when
>he claims "no economist I know thinks of the economy
>as being anything like a machine".

I make the same claim as Prof. Krugman, so I don't see
him as coy or deceptive. And bionomics seems squarely
marketed as a substitute for mainstream economics, not
Keynes and Marx.

>Rothschild talks about "orthodox economics", heís
>using a short-hand for the talking heads the public
>sees on TV and the seeming inapplicability of the
>type of mathematical stuff one sees in, e.g., the MIT
>journal mentioned above, to the immediate problems
>that public- and private-sector managers face.

The people who do the math are rarely the same as the
talking heads you see.

>Donít mistake me, I think Krugmanís "equilibrium
>thinking" is important, especially as a
>counter-weight to the Singularity and the turbulence
>of Kellyís "Network Economy"; but, there are other
>voices perhaps more in tune with Extropian thinking.
>Iíll mention Paul Romerís New Growth theories.

Romer's work is solidly within the standard
"equilibrium thinking" framework. (In economics,
equilibrium doesn't mean statis.)

Robin Hanson
hanson@econ.berkeley.edu http://hanson.berkeley.edu/
RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884
140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-8614