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Posted by Thomas Fischbacher over 12 years ago
When preparing my "Mathematics for Complex Systems" lecture (pretty much all I do during semester 2 of the academic year is teaching), I came across something curious - striking evidene that quite famous people in the academic profession of economics are not actually using mathematics to adequately model processes, but instead are systematically abusing mathematics to bamboozle their audience (or at least the less maths-savvy members among them).
The actual discussion is somewhat technical, it involves a simple non-linear system (perhaps the simplest one one can write down) known as the "logistic map". If one actually happens to know a little bit about its properties (to the level it would be covered in an introductory lecture, such as mine), it becomes quite evident how Yale professor of economics William Nordhaus tries to frame it in a way that is mathematically wrong in order to debunk the Meadows "Limits to Growth" study.
Science constantly is under seige from pseudo-scientific ideologies that try to sneak into the ivory tower in order to benefit from some sort of perceived elevated status of disciplines that are recognized as science (think Lyssenkoism, say). Alas, as it seems, occasionally, some such ideologies succeed, and there is considerable evidence that something very much like that might have happened with the "science" of economics.
My lecture notes can be found at http://www.soton.ac.uk/~doctom/teaching/soton/modules/SESG6029/current/generated/08-L.pdf - the relevant bits for this WPN item are pages 16, 17, and 26-32.
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|Type: Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course|
|Teacher: Chris Evans|
|Location: Dorset, UK|
|Date: Jan 2007|