Critical Realism & Mathematics versus Mythematics in Economics

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This is the brief talk I gave at a con­fer­ence cel­e­brat­ing 25 years of the Crit­i­cal Real­ist sem­i­nar series at Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ty. Crit­i­cal real­ists argue against the use of math­e­mat­ics in eco­nom­ics; I argue here that it’s the abuse of math­e­mat­ics by Neo­clas­si­cal economists–who prac­tice what I have dubbed “Mythe­mat­ics” rather than Mathematics–and that some phe­nom­e­na are uncov­ered by math­e­mat­i­cal log­ic that can’t be dis­cov­ered by ver­bal log­ic alone. I give the exam­ple of my own mod­el of Min­sky’s Finan­cial Insta­bil­i­ty Hypoth­e­sis, which revealed the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a “Great Mod­er­a­tion” pre­ced­ing a “Great Reces­sion” before either event had hap­pened.

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About Steve Keen

I am Professor of Economics and Head of Economics, History and Politics at Kingston University London, and a long time critic of conventional economic thought. As well as attacking mainstream thought in Debunking Economics, I am also developing an alternative dynamic approach to economic modelling. The key issue I am tackling here is the prospect for a debt-deflation on the back of the enormous private debts accumulated globally, and our very low rate of inflation.