廷龍政經閱讀: The Week of April 8, 2012
香港科技大學最年輕的正教授——工業工程與物流管理學系的洪流博士 (Dr. Jeff L. Hong)日前在Facebook發表了如下評論：
Recently, I am so fascinated by a school of thought that is strongly against the use of mathematics in social science, including economics and management. If we do not even believe that people are selfish and rational (i.e., maximizing their own utilities), why should we believe all the economics/finance/management science theories that are built upon them? I think it is time to read John Maynard Keynes, Friedrich Hayek, Karl Popper and some other great minds that were skeptical about the use of mathematics or other scientific approaches (i.e., physics approaches). After all, social sciences are not physics. In physics, there are rules (may be set by Gods) that do not change by us and physicists are trying to discover them; but in social science, rules are set by us and discoveries of these rules often lead to changes of these rules.
Jill Lepore: Not So Fast—Scientific management started as a way to work. How did it become a way of life? (The New Yorker)
In “The Management Myth: Why the Experts Keep Getting It Wrong” (Norton; $27.95), Matthew Stewart points out what Taylor’s enemies and even some of his colleagues pointed out, nearly a century ago: Taylor fudged his data, lied to his clients, and inflated the record of his success. As it happens, Stewart did the same things during his seven years as a management consultant; fudging, lying, and inflating, he says, are the profession’s stock-in-trade.
Hans Ohanian: Gotcha, physics genius: Retelling Albert Einstein’s story by homing in on his blunders makes for good intellectual entertainment (Los Angeles Times)
We have all heard that math wasn’t Einstein’s strong point, and Ohanian ruthlessly lays out the details. A 12-page marathon calculation in Einstein’s doctoral dissertation, “A New Determination of the Molecular Size,” was “a comedy of errors” based on “zany” physical assumptions, such as treating sugar molecules dissolved in water as though they were tiny spheres sitting at rest instead of spinning like tops.
Maureen Tkacik: Omniscient Gentlemen of The Atlantic (The Baffler)
It is why the ideas, so-called, that inspire the omniscient gentlemen of The Atlantic are flat: their world is, literally, flat. Habitual “bipartisanship” has given way to a tendency to level the playing field between reality and fiction. And so in The Atlantic’s account of America’s present crisis, James Fallows suspects America’s awareness of its own decline is merely “our era’s version of the ‘missile gap.’” It’s as though, in purging labor from the ranks of accredited Thought Leaders, they have eradicated thought itself.
John Cassidy: The Demand Doctor: What would John Maynard Keynes tell us to do now—and should we listen? (New Yorker)
Yet Keynes was anything but a spendthrift. When deficits and debts reached historically high levels, he believed, it was necessary to spell out how they would be reduced in the long term. As Backhouse and Bateman observe in their timely and provocative reappraisal, Keynes never said that deficits don’t matter (the lesson that Dick Cheney reportedly drew from President Reagan). He believed not only that large-scale deficit spending should be confined to recessions, when business investment was unusually curtailed, but that it should be directed mainly toward long-term capital projects that eventually would pay for themselves.