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Nonentity: The emptiness of economic thinking

The discussions among physicists, for example, became enormously productive just by no longer  applying concepts like perpetual motion machine or epicycle because these words signify nonentities. It took some time to find this out. The specific difficulty with nonentities is sometimes that they cannot be readily recognized or disproved. It is simple with the Easter Bunny and rather demanding with the concept of absolute space.

 

Likewise, students of economics can gain a wealth of time by immediately stopping to read an article or a book as soon as the concept of equilibrium is introduced.

 

Equilibrium, or by implication disequilibrium, is a nonentity. Of course, there are some other nonentities in conventional economics but equilibrium is the most wasteful.

 

Identifying nonentities is one of the defining activities of science. In took the physicists about eighteen centuries to find out that epicycles are nonentities. As John Stuart Mill put it: "Mankind in all ages have had a strong propensity to conclude that wherever there is a name, there must be a distinguishable separate entity corresponding to the name; ..."

 

General equilibrium is the economic counterpart of a perpetual motion machine; no real thing could possibly correspond to the name. The scientific content of all  variants of equilibrium models is nil it is superstition wrapped in mathematics. The fact that conventional economics clings to equilibrium does not testify for equilibrium but against conventional economics.

 

Whether economists get rid faster than physicists of their idiosyncratic nonentities cannot be said after only two centuries at the proto-scientific stage of development.  At times, fundamental changes happen overnight.

 

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