If you have read me before you know that one of the things I’ve been asking myself is whether Economy is a solid enough science to lead us to the truth, whatever that might be. I thought about it in the previous post “Is Economy as a science solid enough to define what’s true and what’s not?“, and end up talking about the Lucas critique.
Well, I have to say I began being sceptic, thinking that Economy was not stable enough to be called a “science”, but slowly changed my mind.
And like a coin, now I think there are two sides to Economy: science and art.
The “science side”, is it solid enough to reach the truth? Yes it is. We’ve been discovering a series of laws, economic laws, that deserve being qualified as “natural laws”, that rule the production and distribution of wealth. It’s just like Chemistry that is able to understand and describe how the elements interact and combine. The applications? Those can be done in so many different ways…
And there is the “art side”, a side that Chemistry doesn’t have (maybe I should rethink that too). In Economy the distribution of wealth can be designed in so many different ways. For sure Rawls and Nozick would do it in two very different ways. But not only them but each of us would be creative in our own way. As in every art, some might even be better artists than others.
Because those natural laws that work from the shadows even made perfectly (?) planned economies to have cycles, as Kitchin, Juglar, Kuznets, Kondratev or the cluster innovations of Schumpeter –yes, again- and Mensch. Even with the cycle denial by Milton Friedman, we still have bubbles: technological bubbles, housing bubbles, internet bubbles, biotech bubbles, stock bubbles (I think we could be in one of those now) again and again.
painting political ideas in a blank canvas
Good artists will try, from their posts, to use their tools (call them fiscal policies, monetary policies or whatever you wish) to create something nice that responds to their personal perspective or even to their ideals. Sometimes seeking social justice –whatever its definition might that be –sometimes just seeking self profit –a great way to create wealth too-, or just seeking to predate other’s resources.
Now to the conclusion: the part of Economy that is a science will help us understand the world, drawing solid conclusions, reaching objective truths. The part of Economy that is art will let us use those basic laws to build something of our own, to create.
Economy’s nature is a dual one.