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Complexity and the Art of Public PolicySolving Society's Problems from the Bottom Up$
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David Colander and Roland Kupers

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691169132

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691169132.001.0001

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How Economics Lost the Complexity Vision

How Economics Lost the Complexity Vision

(p.67) Chapter 5 How Economics Lost the Complexity Vision
Complexity and the Art of Public Policy

David Colander

Roland Kupers

Princeton University Press

This chapter tells the story of how in economists’ struggle to develop a model that captures the essential aspects of the economy, the way in which policy is framed to the general public got screwed up. What do we mean by screwed up? We mean the way the general public is led to believe that when economists support a certain policy, that support is based on their scientific knowledge and theory. This becomes a problem since economists often come to diametrically opposing policy views; some support market fundamentalism and others support government intervention. If their arguments come directly from the same scientific theory, both can’t be right. The answer to this puzzle is that economists’ policy views don’t come from scientific theory but from different interpretations and assumptions of the same scientific theory.

Keywords:   economic models, economics, scientific theory, economic policy

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