Debreu: Theories of Value: just got a text on the equilibrium question, with another on the way (credit card debt again). An interesting book, but it is clear that while the basis of neo-classical economics is bogus, you wouldn’t know from texts like this one, a sophisticated analysis using fairly advanced (post-calculus) ‘analysis’. Let’s grant them their due, but realize they prove virtually nothing. The subject seems to have passed into Bourbaki land here and it would take me a good month to bone up on this material. I don’t have a month. No wonder noone can figure out economics.
Despite the interest in this avenue of theory, I think the limits of economic systems can be seen in much simpler terms. After writing WHEE I don’t take economic claims on history seriously: you can’t throw man into a theory of economic action and say he is not free to change the result. That’s the dangerof economics: people become paralyzed and can’t protest their manipulation by rigged economies, which are artificial.
Looking at austerity policies we can see how the mystique of theory is used to say that one’s economic fate is determined by economic inevitability. That’s bullshit.
One of fallacies of science education is that causal analysis overrides value assessment. If you are behind the eightball of an economic juggernaut you have the right to appeal on the grounds of values, tough luck for the economic bullshit using calculus junk.