overview

Advanced

Economics as a Science of Human Action - '..the subjective character of the discipline..'

Posted by ProjectC 
'..“consciousness in action,”..'

'Perhaps the first discussion of the role of economics as a science of human action in this praxeological sense is that of an American, Sidney Sherwood. Writing in 1897 on the “philosophical basis of economics,”3 Sherwood declared that a general science dealing with “consciousness in action,” a “science of practical life,” was the intellectual necessity of the time. Hitherto special disciplines such as history, law, politics, and sociology had groped forward in this direction. But a “master science” was required to give a common starting point and method to these special inquiries. Such a science “must explain all the conscious activities of men by reducing them to terms of the motives and choices of the individual consciousness.” To Sherwood it seemed that economics is the science outstandingly fitted to play this role. “Economics deals with wants consciously felt, resources consciously perceived, and consciously directed to the end of gaining conscious satisfaction ... ” Any restriction of economic reasoning to the sphere of material goods is completely artificial. It seemed “inevitable” to Sherwood that economics must ultimately include all human values. “All pleasures, all values, all choices, all teleological activities, are, in fact, chosen and followed upon principles which economics alone has explained in a scientific manner.” '

- Israel M. Kirzner, Economics as a Science of Human Action - The Economic Point of View



'..the most important task of applied economics to be the discovery of the type of institutional structure that provides for the greatest coordination of individual plans and efforts, then the subjective character of the discipline is brought to the forefront..'

'If, however, one considers the most important task of applied economics to be the discovery of the type of institutional structure that provides for the greatest coordination of individual plans and efforts, then the subjective character of the discipline is brought to the forefront. Here the goal of science is to aid men not in maximizing or minimizing some statistical average, but in eliminating or lessening the frustrations that occur when the plans of one individual come into conflict with those of another: For example, it is not the physical existence of capital on which the prosperity of society’s members depends but rather the position these goods play in the plans of acting individuals. One need not go so far as some members of the subjectivist school and argue that statistical investigations are of absolutely no value in the derivation of economic laws. It is sufficient to insist that the meaning of such measurements be constantly checked against the underlying human plans and purposes that they allegedly represent.

Thus at the very heart of the science of economics is the idea that capital goods, consumer goads, costs of production, and the like take on economic significance, not because of their physical characteristics or the procedures of tax accounting, but because of the meaning their individual owners attach to them in the course of pursuing their ends. It is my hope that this new edition of Kirzner’s study of The Economic Point of View will reacquaint economists with the subjective basis of their science and help to engender a more critical attitude toward modern-day research methods.'

- Laurence S. Moss , Introduction to the Second Edition - Israel M. Kirzner, The Economic Point of View



Context 'A judgment of value .. a man's affective response to definite conditions of the universe..'

(Haptopraxeology) - '..humanism in economics..'

Ending Fractional Reserve Lending and Bank Corruption at Philadelphia Fed Conference, April 19, 2013

'..ethics in particular..' - Banking Reform


'..the character ethic as the foundation of success..'

'Ours is truly an Age of Statistics.' - Rothbard