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There is always self-interest behind methodological madness. That is because [professional] success requires heavy subsidies from special interests who benefit from an erroneous, misleading or deceptive economic logic.   Share:  
Thrust of argument: Ismael Hossein-zadeh writes 'In the second half of the 18th and first half of 19th centuries, the conflicting interests of these two rival factions of the ruling elites served as powerful economic grounds for a fierce political/ideological struggle between the partisans of the two sides. Whereas the elites of the old system viewed the rising bourgeoisie as undermining their traditional rights and privileges, the modern capitalist elites viewed the old establishment as hindering rapid industrialization, 'proletarianization' and urbanization.

In the ensuing ideological battle between the champions of the old and new orders, the writings of classical economists such as Smith, Ricardo and Mill proved quite helpful to the proponents or partisans of the new order. As influential intellectuals who were concerned that the hindering influences and extractive businesses of the old establishment may hamper a clean break from pre-capitalist modes of economic activity, they wrote passionately about what created real values and/or 'wealth of nations,' and what was wasteful and a drain on economic resources. To this end, their writings included lengthy discussions of the labor theory of value—the theory that human labor constitutes the essence of value—and related notions of productive and unproductive activities.'
Direction of resistance / implied resistance: Moreover, Hossein-zadeh explains: 'Whereas the utilitarian views of the earlier economists had been firmly discredited in the late 18th and early 19th centuries by proponents of the labor theory of value as truisms that did not explain much of the real world economic developments, the math-coded utilitarianism of Jevons (and his fellow neoclassicals since then) has been shielded from such criticisms by a protective cover of mathematical veneer. Despite the fact that, aside from the mathematical mask, the new notion of utility represented no conceptual or theoretical advances over the earlier version, it was celebrated as a 'revolution' in economic thought, the so-called 'neoclassical revolution.' Presenting a body of largely axiomatic principles, or religious-like normative guidelines (such as how 'rational' consumers should behave), by means of elaborate and mesmerizing mathematics is like covering weeds with Astroturf.

Despite its irrelevance and uselessness, neoclassical economics is neither uninteresting nor illogical. Within its own premises and presuppositions it is both logical and mathematically rigorous, which explains why it is packaged as a scientific discipline. But, again, it falls pitifully short of explaining how real world markets or economies work, or how economic crises, as inherent occurrences to a capitalist economy, take place; or what to do to counter such crises that would help not only the capitalist/financial elites but the society at large. Although most mainstream economists proudly characterize their discipline as scientific, adornment of the discipline by a façade of mathematics does not really make it scientific. In reality, the math superstructure simply masks the flawed or unreliable theoretical foundation of the discipline.'


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Removal of resistance: He demands to know 'Why or how is it that most economists are either unaware or pretend to be unaware of the specious theoretical foundations of their discipline?' Unification: Well-fed Emperor Marcus Aurelius, at the arse end of the Roman Empire, said that a doctor should be ashamed to be surprised at a sudden fever in a patient, a 'shipmaster' (in my translation of the Latin) ashamed to be thrown by events which are simply a part of their nature (such as a harsh wind).

But I don't suppose Hossein-zadeh, or you or I for that matter, is surprised. Greed and destructivity never do manage to conceal themselves. We all can see what is happening in the world today.
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