Economics and physics

A fun read by Michael Goldhaber, reviewing a book by Richard Lanham on the so-called Attention Economy. What’s better than rival academics sniping at each other? Aside from the whole attention economy concept, here’s what caught my eye:

“The economics discipline also tends to regard itself as a science, not unlike physics. Within contemporary physics, it so happens, it has become something of an open question as to whether what have been regarded as immutable laws are in fact something of a (natural) historical accident.”

Goldhaber’s training is in theoretical physics. People coming to a new discipline from a different background often have great insights to share.

Update: Fixed link and spelling. “Mmmm – maintenance.” – Homer Simpson


3 thoughts on “Economics and physics

  1. Statistics has enabled economics to be placed on a firmer footing. Now currently, a lot pf the data is compiled at census times, which are 4-5 years apart if not more. There is more frequently collected data (consumer spending, debt, etc) but it’s the census which is king, and drives so much of policy making and debate. Economics ties into this extremely closely.
    It can be as rigorous and predictive as physics.


  2. Hi. I like economics although I also love the quote, “An economist is someone who’s good with numbers but doesn’t have the personality to be an accountant.” Not sure who said that.

    I think Goldhaber’s point wasn’t so much to knock economics as to say that physics is perhaps a tad less predictive than once thought.

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