Hi Fabio, Note I never said that economics wasn't science. I think that one can have scientific inquiry into the behavior of complex systems, but then the behavior of scientists studying such problems don't fit easily into Kuhn's categories. We're in the same situation as meteorology (only worse because our subjects have minds of their own). We know that weather systems are chaotic and therefore unpredictable beyond very limited time frames. Same for economics.
I don't think that complexity rules out science - - just that it precludes the sort of exact prediction and measurement that have been the hallmark of modern physics. Sure there are physical problems where chaos and complexity cause the same sorts of problems that economists have dealing with the economy, but they aren't at the core of the discipline the way they are in economics. Thus I think that a lot of Kuhn doesn't really work beyond the more precise areas of the physical sciences. If there have been anything like paradigm shifts in economics they haven't happened in the way the Kuhn describes for the physical sciences. Finally, You and Alex both seem to want to classify the state of modern macro as normal science. Personally, I think that the differences between the different approaches within macro are much more profound than either of you apparently do. Although everybody will use general equilibrium models as the framework for their approach, at the core there are still some pretty big differences in such things as willingness to allow a role for sub-optimal behavior on the part of agents and the welfare properties of the outcomes. I think these differences are much more fundamental than the similarities of using GE techniques to piece the parts together. Admittedly there has been some convergence over the last 15 years and things look more like normal science today then they did in the mid 80s, but I think there is still a long way to go. - - Bill >>> [EMAIL PROTECTED] 02/02/03 01:11PM >>> Well maybe macro *is* in a scientific state, from your description. Sticking to Kuhn's terminology, "normal" scientific activity occurs when scientists use existing models to solve outstanding issues. From one perspective, maco is organized around general equilibria, and the fighting is over the details of money, capital and labor markets, as you describe. The situation is similar in many branches of physics - people often accept very broad ideas (Newton's mechanics) and then squabble over details, which may seem huge to insiders, but small to outsiders. Also: I've never bought the whole social science is too complex argument for why economics and physical science differ. A lot of the life and physical sciences deal with complex systems - ever study turbulence theory? It's prettty friggin' hard and complex. Or ecology - lot's of interrelated parts. But we still consider them sciences. Fabio > in macro-economics. Everybody in main stream economic thinking about > macro-problems has a general equilibrium ! model with capital markets, > labor markets, and money markets in mind. The specifics of how some of > those markets should be represented and what the rationale is for the > representations used is the main items for debate. - - Bill Dickens