Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics

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Dimensions and Economics: Some Problems — Errata

The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics

Tags Philosophy and Methodology

07/30/2014William Barnett II

Volume 7, No.1 (Spring 2004)


The economics profession has attempted to achieve the degree of success in understanding, explaining, and predicting events in the social world that physicists and engineers have achieved in the natural world by emulating their methods; i.e., using mathematical and statistical analyses to model, understand, and explain, the relevant phenomena. However, in so doing, economists have failed to emulate physicists and engineers in one essential aspect of their work: the consistent and correct use of dimensions. This is an abuse of mathematical/scientific methods. Such abuse invalidates the results of mathematical and statistical methods applied to the development and application of economic theory. This is not to say that there have not been advances in economic understanding by the neoclassicals, but rather to argue that mathematics is neither a necessary nor a sufficient means to such advances.

Whether it even is, or can be, a valid means to such advances is a different issue. What is certain, however, is that mathematics cannot possibly be a valid means unless and until it is used properly. Among other things, that means that dimensions must be used consistently and correctly.

Contact William Barnett II

Bill Barnett is professor of economics at Loyola University in New Orleans.

Cite This Article

Barnett, William II. "Dimensions and Economics: Some Problems — Errata." The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics 7, No. 1 (Spring 2004): 95–104.