From the master

Economics is a science of thinking in terms of models joined to the art of choosing models which are relevant to the contemporary world.

It is compelled to be this, because, unlike the typical natural science, the material to which it is applied is, in too many respects, not homogeneous through time.

The object of a model is to segregate the semi-permanent or relatively constant factors from those which are transitory or fluctuating so as to develop a logical way of thinking about the latter, and of understanding the time sequences to which they give rise in particular cases. [Link]

Economics is essentially a moral science and not a natural science. That is to say, it employs introspection and judgements of value. [Link]

I also want to emphasise strongly the point about economics being a moral science. I mentioned before that it deals with introspection and with values.

I might have added that it deals with motives, expectations, psychological uncertainties. One has to be constantly on guard against treating the material as constant and homogeneous in the same way that the material of the other sciences, in spite of its complexity, is constant and homogeneous.

It is as though the fall of the apple to the ground depended on the apple’s motives, on whether it is worth while falling to the ground, and whether the ground wanted the apple to fall, and on mistaken calculations on the part of the apple as to how far it was from the centre of the earth. [Link]


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