Forget that the word economy is based on the Greek word oikonomos for housekeeping and domestic management. The word is really about the desire for profits and executive wealth in business activities. The talk about ‘the economy’ uses attributes with various econo-babble statements and the claim that the economy needs fixing, restarting, or having money pumped into the ‘economy’. Human needs are secondary. The various definitions do not help in any understanding. Is it about wealth, money, trade, scarcity, or ordinary life? Contrary to the claims of economists it is not a science. Science (scientia=knowledge) is proven (proven = tested) information that is replicated, tested by others, and failed to be disproved by falsification tests. Economic textbooks and reports are full of the word assume which negates science which starts with a null hypothesis. Economic textbooks have an aura of mathematics with a multiplicity of graphs used to illustrate a point. They do not use real data but manufacture data to support an assumption.
An economist’s graph of a demand and supply example (Y axis = price of goods) (X axis= quantity of supply) that shows straight lines not based on any real data and assumes changes in economics (business changes) as parallel displacements. Thinking about the low end of the supply curves intelligent people must believe that the low price depends on the price of the raw materials needed to make the supplied product. That tends to make nonsense of the high end of the supply line.
The fundamental criss-cross of economist’s supply and demand assumed graph can be seen to fail any test for real science.
Economics is more like a religion. There are required beliefs (growth, equilibrium), and prohibited beliefs (limits, dynamic change). There are many religious sects of economics with somewhat different views about aspects which provide endless disputes which are never resolved. They have a well established habit of keeping heretics out of any examination of heterodox ideas.
If economics were a science, then they would be able to use their established theories to make useful predictions. Predictions of economists are a consistent failures. They do not ever come within a couple of standard deviations of their estimates if they ever provide them.
Published work of Professors Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff was shown to be based on spreadsheet errors.
Theories of economists that have been actually applied have been show to be utter failures. Minimising government control, regulation and social support have all proved to be harmful to life. The assumption that privately owned business is better than state run activities has proved to be disastrous quite often. Privatisation is a failure. Globalisation is a failure. The so-called neo-liberal economic agenda has failed. Science must dispense with a theory that fails testing.
If economics and economists are to get any respect and authoritory then they need to do a few things. They need a charter of ethics like other professions. They need standards which can eliminate professional failures. They need to reveal their conflicts of interest and their paymasters especially when they join the punditocracy. They need to publically accept their theory failures and reject them. They need to rigorously apply true scientific methods basing theories only on real, established data and observations and accept ‘don’t know’ situations. They need to take a ‘do no harm’ basis including changing from the Pareto Optimum to a egalitarian aim and changing to indices which measure real human values.
Economics took a wrong term when the Club of Rome published the Limits to Growth book in 1972. Using the development of computer software (called System Dynamics) that could simulate complex interactions of related variables, uncomfortable trends were indicated. The simulations exposed the real limits to growth and compared alternative economic behaviours. The rejection by economists of the modeling exposed their biases and their lies got acceptance by other sectors of the community who were uncomfortable with the indicated trends. The economists missed a great opportunity to make a leap forward into understanding the complex dynamic nature of economic systems by taking up computer modeling of complex systems and even developing their own dynamics software. Economists still have not caught up with the real sciences which have done this.