Nils Gilman posted a series of “nonsense beliefs” on his Twitter account, but didn’t reproduce them on his blog for discussion, so I have taken the liberty to reproduce them here as I think Twitter is not a good forum for debating such propositions. Here are the nine:
1) In the economic system, what you can’t count doesn’t count.
2) The environment is an externality—it doesn’t ‘count’.
3) What can’t be measured can’t be reasoned about: it’s either economics or irrationality.
4) In economic terms, sacrificing near-term gains for possible long-term benefits for posterity is irrational.
5) Probability and harm can be priced, and so every risk has its price.
6) Everything has its price.
7) By definition, profit maximisation is social responsibility.
8) By definition, markets are efficient and regulation inefficient.
9) We can use the past to model and predict the future.
My quick take just to get the discussion rolling: as any historian will tell you, context is important (1 and 2); I am iffy on 3 since concepts (justice, morality) can be reasoned about but metrics are handy especially when policy-making; yes on 4; i don’t get 5; 6 is not nonsense (except in quantum mechanics) since price doesn’t necessarily mean gold; 7 I agree; 8 is a strawman argument so I agree; 9 conflates “prediction” with “forecasting”, which I am not sure Nils is clear on.
Since these are all short tweets the points are difficult to qualify and we must tread carefully. That said, I think it is a good check list for examining bias, and a good discussion starter.