Ahistoričnost in nepolitičnost ekonomskih modelov je zgolj mit

Mike Konczal na osnovi Pikettyjeve knjige o tem, kar sem govoril zadnjič v Kako zelo zanič je študij ekonomije: Vse teorije so nastale v določenem zgodovinskem kontekstu […] . Ne obstajajo brezčasne ekonomske teorije in ne obstajajo univerzalne ekonomske teorije, pač pa je vsaka od njih uporabna zgolj v konkretnem realnem kontekstu.

Many economists tend to build tight little stories and models, and then look outward at the data that may or may not fit. Piketty, on the other hand, starts with the remarkable data and then looks around at various models economists have deployed to see if those models fit. A useful example is the life-cycle theory of consumption, created in the 1950s by the economist Franco Modigliani. In this model, the primary role of savings is to finance retirement. Piketty takes an extra step to point out that this model was developed at exactly the moment when inheritance was at its historical lowest. He puts the model next to the data and concludes it doesn’t tell us much. Rare for an economist—and the book is filled with brilliant moments like this: Piketty shows how economists often reflect the society around them when they create supposedly ahistorical or nonpolitical models.

Piketty’s book is hard to place in the genre of economic books. Popular economics books of the recent decades tend to simplify and reduce everything to pet economic theories, with the idea that economics and incentives can explain everything. Capital does not read like these books. Piketty writes, in contrast, with a historical depth and seriousness that goes beyond such cleverness. His engagement with the rest of the social sciences also distinguishes him from most economists. Whether discussing the rate of population growth or what determines why people save, Piketty always references cultural, historical, and psychological reasons alongside economic ones.

Vir: Mike Konczal, Boston Review

 

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