Re: Econ: Krugman attacks Bionomics

Robin Hanson (hanson@econ.Berkeley.EDU)
Tue, 04 Nov 1997 09:17:10 -0800

[If you want to be sure I see something, cc me directly. RH]

Mark Crosby writes:
>I guess, then, that most political scientists today
>would not agree with the concluding paragraph of
>Friedrich Hayek's 1945 essay "The Use of Knowledge in
>Society" where he warns:
>"Any approach, such as that of much of mathematical
>economics with its simultaneous equations, which in
>effect starts from the assumption that people's
>knowledge corresponds with the objective facts of the
>situation, ... is no more
>than a useful preliminary to the study of the main

"No more than" is a bit strong. But I think most economists
and political scientists would agree that information dymamics
are near the center of most interesting questions. The
big change is that now, 52 years later, we have powerful tools
for studying these information dynamics. Most of my study and
research has been into various types of information processes,
and very little has been in supply and demand type reasoning.
And I am far from unusual.

Critiques of economics for neglecting the "problem of knowledge"
are somewhat like critiques of engineers for neglecting
computers, or critiques of biologists for neglecting DNA.
They may have been valid in 1945, but hardly today.

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