Rationality in Economics: Constructivist and Ecological by Smith V.L.

By Smith V.L.

Explores constructivist and ecological techniques to rationality in economics.

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Good theory must be an engine for generating testable hypotheses, and utility theory runs out of fuel quickly. Utility values are seen as providing the ultimate “given” data of economics, and traditionally, as soon as utility is invoked as an explanation of something, the conversation stops. I am reminded of a department head from Hewlett-Packard (HP) visiting our lab. I naively assumed that he would be most interested in demonstrations of some of our market experiments. Not so. He was more interested in the “trust” experiments.

The temptation is to ignore this reality because it is poorly understood and does not yield to our familiar but grossly inadequate static modeling tools, 4 Wilson (1992, p. ” It is nowadays, thanks to replication, but few have changed their thinking. Theory has lagged well behind the evidence, and yields inadequate testable insight into the process dynamics operating in different institutions. P1: KNP 9780521871358c02 CUNY949/Smith 978 0 521 87135 8 August 24, 2007 On Two Forms of Rationality 17:54 31 and to proceed in the implicit belief that our parables capture what is most essential about what we observe.

P1: KNP 9780521871358c01 CUNY949/Smith 978 0 521 87135 8 August 24, 2007 Rediscovering the Scottish Philosophers 17:59 17 Political activists sometimes juxtapose property rights and “human rights” as mutually exclusive phenomena. But “property” is that over which an individual human, or association of humans, exercises some specified priority of action with respect to other humans. Only humans (and perhaps a few other animal species, notably chimps), but not property, can be recognized as allowed to act without reprisal from others.

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