Moshe Adler’s book, Economics for the rest of us, is a good critical review of economic orthodoxy. I have said it before, but this book brings home the way we are all being fleeced by economic theories, and economists.
Adler opens with a discussion of the Bentham’s utility curve, with its marginal argument, and its support for equality, and then the way that Pareto recast the argument to sabotage the claims.
While I would support the original Bentham version, and perhaps much of the classical material before the neo-classical con game rewrote the whole mystification, the fact is the whole game is wrong from the start. Bentham’s argument sets you up for the swindle.
How is it that all the experts with the highest IQ’s are mired in this false pseudo-science, and think it somehow a professional discipline? How is it that graphs of really teenager quality, used in such ridiculous theories using such simplistic arguments and displaying such insulting graphs that claim to resolve critical economic issues for millions. The Pareto sophistries are in part what is behind the right’s defiant defense of inequality at this very moment, and in general neoclassical economics, despite the occassional exposes of people like Adler has completed befuddled the public and handed the right a veneer of trick science.
Marginal arguments, with their whiff of table fart near the glories of Newtonian calculus, are a sordid fantasy of mathematical theory, and should be sidelined from public discussion. They resolve no issues, because the oversimplifications, and assumptions that value questions will yield to numerical analysis (here a complete facade of numerical arguments), cannot answer the questions being raised.
I think economists should be sidelined from discussions of the economy as people with their common sense intact, and some warnings about the methods of mathematical con men, lately the marginal calculus farce, deal with economic situations without these illusions.