Shalizi on “Econophysics”

Here’s a characteristically brilliant rant by Cosma (Three-Toed Sloth) Shalizi on “Econophysics” (written last year but published last week). The disclaimer

At best, I can make semi-informed guesses here, and I shouldn’t pretend that they’re anything more than that, though my tendency to strident over-statement may make it sound like I think I’ve got the one true explanation.
shouldn’t be taken too seriously (though a case could be made that I should post it at the top of this blog …): following up even a small fraction of the links should convince anyone that, agree or disagree, our author has done his homework.

It pleases me much more than it should that Shalizi singles out Samuel Bowles‘s work in microeconomics for some high praise since I approvingly cited a paper of his earlier this year (also in my other blog [March 28, 2007]). Because unlike Shalizi, I haven’t done the homework: I consider “Economics” a branch of “Theology” (which is itself a branch of Psychology—no scarequotes because it actually—sometimes—studies the subject it proports to study) and have consequently maintained a profound ignorance in this area by actively avoiding any serious reading therein.

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  1. I think he’s talking about something slightly different. One of the commenters calls it a “template.”




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