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The Nature of Economics (5)

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The Nature of Economics (5) We see here a good example for the fact that the values researchers possess affect their choice of the topic and method of research generating bias in ‘scientific works.’Researchers who want to support individualism do not analyze firms or households seriously. They simply introduce exogenously given production functions and utility functions. Economists tend to ignore or distort social aspects that are inconvenient to build models with conclusions they like. It is really hard to establish social sciences that are value-free. Researchers need to recognize this. On the other hand, a unified theoretical model may be formed to explain the cultural difference mentioned in the example given in the above third reason. It may be done by introducing a measure of the degree of cooperativeness as an exogenous variable. In such a model different types of equilibrium may arise for different values of the measure. If we can endogenize the variable for that measure, we may…

The Nature of Economics (4)

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The Nature of Economics (4) Why does not neoclassical economics seriously analyze the firm? There are a few related reasons. First, as mentioned before, human behavior in the firm is different from that in the market. Individualism cannot be supported in the firm. Although one of the implicit ideological goals of neoclassical economics is to spread this Western ideology around the world, a fuller analysis of the firm would make it impossible because individualism can be supported loosely only in organized markets. A second reason is that human behavior in the firm is not simple. It cannot be described by a simple principle of price mechanism with pursuit of self-interest. In fact, a raison d'être of the firm is for the employees to refrain from pursuit of self-interest to some extent in order to have cooperation among employees. Thus analyzing both market and firm seriously would make the theory complex. Neoclassical economics avoids this difficulty by focusing only on the market. H…

The Nature of Economics (3)

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The Nature of Economics (3) A crucial defect of neoclassical economics related to the above discussion is that it analyzes seriously only markets, more specifically organized markets. It does not seriously analyze firms or households. It ignores government, the environment, and international relations. Although the real economy has a variety of market types, it treats all markets as the same type. Can the demand-supply analysis (with auctioneers) be applied to medical markets or education markets? This implies that neoclassical economics analyzes only a limited part of the economy. Although it deals with firms, it does not seriously analyze them in the sense that it fails to explain how a particular set of input levels achieves the level of output given by the production function. In other words, it does not describe the process of production or how production is carried out. Firms in the real economy try hard to improve their technologies. They also try to invent new products and impro…

The Nature of Economics (2)

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The Nature of Economics (2) When a contract is incomplete as in the real world, the agents have discretion and face interdependence or a game situation. Each can influence the welfare of the other. Pursuit of self-interest in this situation is generally inefficient. This discretion includes many commonplace behaviors such as providing wrong information, doing shoddy work, and working slowly. They will surely decrease the welfare of the partners such as employers, employees, and consumers. The game situation can be described as the prisoner's dilemma game. It shows that pursuit of self-interest under contract incompleteness with discretion leads to inefficiency. For example, telling a lie is a strictly dominating strategy* in it but both players being honest is more efficient than both telling a lie. The above story suggests that individualism or unrestrained pursuit of self-interest cannot be justified in general. It may be loosely justified only in organized markets, such as stock e…

The Nature of Economics (1)

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The Nature of Economics (1) Many people believe that economics is a science that promotes the welfare of all human beings. However it is actually used to justify strategies of particular groups as in the case of free trade. Today’s economics is an ideology. The basis of an ideology is formed first intuitively and then the whole is justified by cleverly applying logic. A widely used method of clever application of logic is to use only facts or assumptions that are convenient for justification. Neoclassical economics or mainstream economics is an ideology that justifies individual freedom or individualism to the maximum. Because of its mathematical nature, we can easily know what assumptions are used in it. We can know further that it ignores many inconvenient facts. One of the most important assumptions of neoclassical economics is contract completeness, which means that all transaction contracts are sufficiently detailed. Otherwise it cannot justify Western individualism. But how can you …

Shusaku Endo’s Silence and Christianity (4)

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Shusaku Endo’s Silence and Christianity (4) One may think that Christianity is the best religion in the world because it has the largest number of believers. I would like to show that this understanding is wrong. Why has Christianity spread so widely in the world? This question needs to be answered in two steps, first historically and second economically. I want to consider the second step leaving the consideration of the first to historians. That question can be answered by applying the theory of network externalities. This theory can be understood easily if an example is given. It is beneficial to have a telephone when most others are telephone users. It is not beneficial to have a telephone when only one out of ten thousand people are telephone users. People become telephone users because many others are telephone users. Similarly, it is beneficial to become a Christian when most others are Christians. It is hard for non-Christians to live in a society where 90% people are Christian…

Shusaku Endo’s Silence and Christianity (3)

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Shusaku Endo’s Silence and Christianity (3) Endo’s Silence stimulates me to consider what conditions a religion should satisfy to contribute to world peace and make all people happy. In this regard Christianity has obvious shortcomings because it divides people into Christians and non-Christians and allows the former to attack the latter. Christians always think whether people in question are Christians or not. It is certain that it cannot be a religion for world peace. It may be useful to know that unlike Christians Japanese people have been generous to foreign religions. But if a foreign religion does harm to them, the case will be altered. At present Christians and Muslims live together peacefully in Japan. Japanese culture is likely to be a buffer among many religions. It may have power to change them into more generous religions. In order to consider a condition for a desirable religion, imagine the group of people who practice a particular religion. Call them R and the others NR. T…