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
RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884
140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-8614