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Modern Economics: Natural or Social Science?

coberst

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Modern Economics: Natural or Social Science?

Economics is a natural science because natural science is about the study of objects rather than subjects. Labor, land, and money, the basic elements of economics, are all commodities of modern economics (objects of commerce), i.e. humans are reified (made into objects) thus losing any consideration as subjects.

“A market economy is an economic system controlled, regulated, and directed by market prices; order in the production and distribution of goods is entrusted to this self-regulating mechanism.”

Such a system contains the following assumptions:
1) Human behavior is such as to seek maximum money gains
2) The supply of goods and services are available based on demand at market prices
3) Money, functioning as buying power, is in the hands of prospective buyers
4) Nothing beyond prices must interfere with markets
5) All incomes are supplied through markets
6) Prices, supply, and demand respond only to market forces

Production and distribution will thus depend upon market prices alone. “Self-regulation implies that all production is for sale on the market and all incomes derive from such sales.”

Under feudalism and the guild system land and labor formed a part of the social organization: the status and function of land were determined by legal and provincial rules, all questions about land were removed from any organized market of buying and selling and subjected to various institutional regulations; the same was true regarding matters of labor, the relations between journeymen and apprentice, the terms of craft, and the wages were regulated by the custom and rule of the guild and the town.

“The self-regulating market demands nothing less than the institutional separation of society into an economic and a political sphere…It might be argued that the separateness of the two spheres obtains in every type of society at all times. Such an inference, however, would be based on a fallacy…normally, the economic order is merely a function of the social order…Nineteenth-century society, in which economic activity was isolated and imputed to a distinctive economic motive, was a singular departure.”

A self-regulating market cannot exist unless society is subordinated to its requirements; a market economy can exist only in a market society.

Quotes from The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time by Karl Polanyi
 

Guy Incognito

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QED Great post! Of course I'm sure there will be no shortage of people who treat Adam Smith like Isaac Newton coming by to dispute this, I think it is obvious to any reasonable person that economics is a "soft" science, which is to say not science at all.
 

coberst

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QED Great post! Of course I'm sure there will be no shortage of people who treat Adam Smith like Isaac Newton coming by to dispute this, I think it is obvious to any reasonable person that economics is a "soft" science, which is to say not science at all.
I think that one of the most serious failings in American educational system is that we do not learn some of the most fundamental matters such as "what is science".

We make such fundamental issues as “science” into an ideology and thus fail to comprehend fundamental issues.

I conclude that we (Americans) have made the natural sciences in to Science, that is to say that we have made an ideology out of natural science.

What is an ideology? I would say that religion is ideology in its purist and strongest form. We have made Science into a religious like belief system.
 

the makeout hobo

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It's a social science since there are no actual physical constants affecting the economy
 

coberst

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It's a social science since there are no actual physical constants affecting the economy
As I understand economics the constants are at least a market that depends upon the three legged constants of money, land, and labor.
 

the makeout hobo

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As I understand economics the constants are at least a market that depends upon the three legged constants of money, land, and labor.
But even those are mostly human constructs or at least filtered through heavily human constructs. It doesn't have its roots in physical, observable things like physics or mathematics
 

Geo Patric

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I think that one of the most serious failings in American educational system is that we do not learn some of the most fundamental matters such as "what is science".

We make such fundamental issues as “science” into an ideology and thus fail to comprehend fundamental issues.

I conclude that we (Americans) have made the natural sciences in to Science, that is to say that we have made an ideology out of natural science.

What is an ideology? I would say that religion is ideology in its purist and strongest form. We have made Science into a religious like belief system.
preposterous.

let us begin at the end - religion is not ideology, though most religions are. no, not playing semantic games. 'religion; itself, has no body of ideas, it is an idea in itself.

calling religion an ideology is not defining of ideology OR of religion, it is, at best of an example of something that is as yet undefined. we can get a dictionary definition, but 'ideology' is not difficult to define: it is a body of ideas accepted as a single, cohesive whole and as such is value neutral.
"Economics is a natural science because natural science is about the study of objects rather than subjects."
what the hell does THAT mean. Science is quantified and methodological study. Natural Science is the study of nature. Social Science is the study of human behavior. Economics is not a law of nature, m. Smith notwithstanding. The universe contains no 'invisible hand'.... the hands are OURS. Economics is a practice of living things, especially humans. As a discipline, it is the study of that behavior for the express purpose of obtaining advantage in the fundamental pursuit of material goods. Think of it as the difference between 'pure' science and 'practical' science. NO one studies how material goods are accumulated, produced and distributed for the sake of knowledge alone.

But, what the hell... call it what you like, but you do so at the expense of identifying yourself as an ideologue... and unlike, 'ideology', 'ideologue' ("an often blindly partisan advocate or adherent of a particular ideology" - webster... and i would add, 'regardless of its showable factualness') is NOT value neutral.

Economics is not ideology. Capitalism IS.

It might be argued that the separateness of the two spheres obtains in every type of society at all times.
yep... sure could.
Such an inference, however, would be based on a fallacy…normally, the economic order is merely a function of the social order
you ellided a portion there where presumably, he identifies the fallacy. a mistake. yes, economics is a function of social order. So is politics. Better would be to say that both are 'expressions' of the social order, as color and scent are expressions of the rose... but the color of the petal is no more the rose itself than its scent. More, its color and its scent are separate, though linked by being organic expressions of the rose as a whole.

the numbered points are all attributes of capitalism and arguable in themselves. more importantly, they can no more be used singularly as a valuation free market capitlism in light of other economic systems than the attributes of a rose can be used to qualify it in comparison to an orchid lacking any enumeration of the specific qualities of an orchid.

a capitalist apologia.

geo.
 

Lord Tammerlain

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It is a social science as none of the "laws of economics" are hard laws.
 
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