Harry R. Schwartz

Software engineer, nominal scientist, gentleman of the internet. Member, ←Hotline Webring→.

· 1B41 8F2C 23DE DD9C 807E A74F 841B 3DAE 25AE 721B

Math Ruins Everything

Published 12 Mar 2010. Tags: economics, math.

Julia just sent me one of Paul Krugman’s analyses of the causes of the financial meltdown: How Did Economists Get It So Wrong?

The whole article’s good, but I especially love this point:

… economists, as a group, mistook beauty, clad in impressive-looking mathematics, for truth… the central cause of the profession’s failure was the desire for an all-encompassing, intellectually elegant approach that also gave economists a chance to show off their mathematical prowess.

Pointedly ignoring the differences between a beautifully abstract model and the messy underlying reality that it (supposedly) represents? I’m sure glad that I’ve never been guilty of that intellectual sin.