Economics and ontology. IV:last remarks

All right, let us accept for the sake of argument that Economics has not changed the world because it cannot do it unless it recognizes the world is as Lawson thinks it is. Furthemore let also grant that many of us enter the field to change the world for the better and to avoid the marginalization of any human being. Let me now offer a couple of examples that purport to suggest that Lawson´s ontology doesn´t offer a clear suggestion of how to do it.

First example. My mother asks my advice about whether to buy a new finantial product designed for the elderly. What shall I do?. Shall I explain to her that she is old and a female, and therefore poorly situated to fight th local bank appetite to «exploit» her, or shall I try to price the new product according to Balack-Scholes formula which I happen to know as a mainstream economist? The answer is that short of doing both I certainly should advice her according to my uprisal of the quality of the finacial product offered to her.

Second example. Many of us we want to reduce personal income inequality in the world. Shall I voice in my highest pitch that exploitation is there in spite of the generalization of markets or may be because of it, or shall I fight for significant increases in educational public expenditures in spite of my doubts about certain econometric misspefications?. I know the answer. Don´t you?

Let me close these comments on the memorable visit of Tony Lawson to the UAM with an almost litteray remark. Each time I tried to challenge Tony´s examples pointing to mainstrean economic´s results that could answer his qualms, he would reply with a conmisarate «it is not that, it isn´t that». I had experienced this attitude before but whre? O. K. I remember . It is the answer I always got from my friend Alfonso Dubois each time I came up with a simple explanation of his convoluted thories aimed at explainig underdevelopment: «it isn´t that; keep searching!»

It can be very exasparating indeed but, mind you, my friend´s insatisfaction kept me going. Thus I thank Tony Lawson´s for his challenging intelectual project. It will keep me going.

Well, may be this means that this little saga on ontology may continue. We will see.


Juan Urrutia , economista y filósofo mundano. Bitácora en la red desde 2003.