I think it’s a testament to the times we live in that so-called “economists” have been entrusted with determining “happiness” and other social metrics. When did the sociologists yield the floor to these nutcases who think everything can be quantified in fractions of a dollar? It’s a sad state of academic affairs, I tell you, when sociology has become entirely qualitative.
Money is the new religion, so why not? Adding: although I’m not a follower in that dogma.
Some of the ground has arguably been legitimately lost (much of the theoretical basis of ‘economics’ as practiced is nonsense; but you can at least expect reasonably high level numeracy, and mathematics is a powerful tool, one not always as widely available as it ought to be in fields that draw more heavily from the humanists); but there seems to be some sort of internal siren call, tugging at economists, that compels some of them to go a bit off the rails and start pushing laughably naive work in disciplines that they know nothing about; but think can be captured by a model they find mathematically tractable.
(In fairness to economists, this disorder is known to affect physicists as well and it’s arguably similar to the ‘What’s with all the engineers in creationism and assorted fringe theories of climate?’ matter.)
Economics has an unhealthy number of dangerously naive (and/or ideologically blinkered) and overconfident number crunchers who are apparently content to ignore all sorts of confounding factors that other fields discovered long ago if their model is pretty enough; but they aren’t likely to lose ground to the more humanistic types if they are reliably much more facile in attacking the (genuinely nontrivial) mathematical problems that arise when trying to do population level work as something other than psychology and extrapolation.
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