Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Proviso on economics

I'm about to start a series exploring the fundamentals of economics from a philosophical perspective. Accordingly, some provisos are in order.

I've never studied economics; take my work with a grain (or a whole pillar) of salt.

I like to think about things from first principles, with "beginner's mind". If you don't like that way of working, don't read the blog. I may make egregious errors, and I certainly will not use canonical terminology. Feel free to correct me, but if you decide to be an asshole about it, I'll be an asshole right back.

Please, please, do not tell me just, "that's not how professional and academic economists see it." I'm an atheist and a skeptic; arguments from authority are not only unpersuasive, they're positively irritating. Tell me why they (and you) don't see it that way. If you can't explain the problem to me, you don't understand it yourself.

I'm going to make a lot of "unrealistic" assumptions at first. Talking about simple, idealized cases and then gradually introducing complexity is a well-understood method for understanding complex systems. If some assumption seems unrealistic, feel free to note it, but I've probably noticed the assumption myself and I'll cover it in a later post.