Friday, January 11, 2008

On my economics post

I feel completely ridiculous that my post on dehumanization in economics features such a clear and obvious error--and that furthermore, this error is the result of my ignorance of the terminology of the very subject I was attempting to write about. Those who know me know this is a fault for which I can barely forgive myself (even at this little blog which has never had more than a handful of regular readers).

Let me quickly summarize here: my point in that post was not to dismiss economics as a field of study or as a useful field within its sphere. My point was mainly to express my own personal dislike of economics, what I particularly dislike about economics. My focus was on the dehumanization; in my own opinion, it's an approach to reality that reduces individuals to their productivity, defines actions by response to incentives, evaluates human behavior according to group behavior, etc. What troubles me is that economists are expanding their worldview outside of the conventional sphere of economics and are explaining many aspects of human existence according to an economist's worldview. This is fine in some areas (it's useful--though not definitive--in sports analysis), but in other areas it just doesn't work for me. I fear that an economist's worldview stretched into other fields reduces human psychology and behavior to base and limited terms. And my life as a student of literature, imbibing Arthur Miller, William Wordsworth, Fyodor Dostoevsky, John Milton, John Fowles, and others, simply balks at explanations, evaluations, and assumptions of human beings in such terms.

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