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GregRansom
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It has been persuasively argued that Wicksteed's *Common Sens* played the central role in the thinking behind Robbins' massively influential *Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economic Science* which makes Wicksteed a central player in the making of the still contemporary vision of the task of economic science.
Daniel, what I'm familiar with is the repeated suggestion by Arrow and textbooks, etc that the math construct of the GET just *is* Smith's 'invisible hand'. That's the flat out statement and language of Arrow and the textbook writers, They weren't bluffing. There meaning is crystal clear. It's an intellectual error as Blaug notes. We can change the topic and discuss how focus on "Efficient" helped grease the skids toward this intellectual error, but the intellectual error remains even if we start talking about something else.
You can go through the literature -- as I have -- and find repeated claims that the "invisible hand" just is the GET math construct, which is utter baloney. And Arrow is first and foremost among those making the claim. Others claim that the "invisible hand" just is the mathematics of "economic man" put into Samuelson's pseudo-scientific mathematical/'empirical' framework. More non-sense from 'neoclassical' math economists & the leftists who can't get enough of these fallacies. (See Stanley Wong, Foundations of Paul Samuelson's Revealed Preference Theory: A Study by the Method of Rational Reconstruction on Samuelson's pseudo-scientific efforts.)
Daniel, Blaug has written many books and papers that deal in very different ways with work by Arrow. What Blaug on Arrow have you read?
Daniel writes, "I have read Blaug on Arrow." What Blaug?
Daniel writes, "No one is proposing Adam Smith 1.0 because Kenneth Arrow is Adam Smith 2.0. People don't think about it in those terms." As Peter suggests, you aren't familiar with the literature on this. Blaug is merely the tip of the iceberg. There is extensive, overflowing evidence that Arrow doesn't agree with you either. It's also noteworthy that Arrow finds it necessary to may the most brain-dead, straw-man, laugh-out-loud childish arguments against Hayek's explanatory use of several property and moral traditions in explaining the institutional foundations of market order.
The difference between "mainline" and "mainstream" can be more readily clarified by focusing on the difference between how Hayek & Smith cast the problem to be explained in economics and its causal solution versus now "mainstream" economists cast these problems and attempt to "solve" them. Doing so also explains the institutional barriers to "mainline" economic explanations, and accounts for the selection for and rewarding of "mainstream" output in the journals, textbooks, and in Ph.D. dissertation and classwork production. The difference between Hayek & Smith and the mainstream can be easily illustrated by pointing out the differences in how the "mainline" economists conceptualize the empirical problem of the division of knowledge and how "mainstream" economists envision that problem -- and the difference between how "mainline" economists account for the problem of economic order and how "mainstream" economists account for it. The understanding of the problem of the division of knowledge in Hayek is one that can't be captured or eliminated using formal math constructs, and the causal elements of explanations for the observed overall order of the economy can't be captured in bits of math, but can be explained only via appeal to learning and changes in understanding in the context of changing local conditions and relative prices, and via appeal to the institutions of several property and moral rules and the institutions of law, things which can't be stuffed into bits of math. By contrast, Kenneth Arrow believes that a bit of math, his mathematical GET construct, fully captures the causal process of Adam Smith's "invisible hand". I may add more on this later.
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Jan 28, 2013