By Hamish Johnston
I was trained as a physicist, many of my friends are scientists and I believe that science has made the world a much better place.
But, would I trust my economic well being to “a group of good scientists…some who know a lot about economics and finance, and others, who have proved themselves in other areas of science..”
I suppose I’m old fashioned in the sense that if water is pouring from my ceiling, I would call a plumber, not a physicist — even though the physicist would probably have a better understanding of how gravity and fluid dynamics had conspired to ruin my day.
The above quotation comes from the introduction of an article called Can science help solve the economic crisis? that has been published on a website called Edge, where clever people expound on various topics of general interest to society.
The article is written by four intellectuals — including the physicist Lee Smolin of the Perimeter Institute — who argue that scientists should be given chance at “developing a scientific conceptualization of economic theory and modeling that is reliable enough to be called a science”.
The article goes on to identify several failures of neoclassical economics, which has been the guiding philosophy for markets and economies worldwide. Many of these criticisms seem to deal with how principles of science — such as the concept of equilibrium — have been naively applied to economics with dire consequences.
Then, it suggests a way forward — applying the concept of self-organized critical systems to economics.
Hmm, better call for that plumber!