The Invisible Hand in Economics
How Economists Explain Unintended Social Consequences
N. Emrah Aydınonat
INEM Advances in Economic Methodology
This is a book about one of the most controversial concepts in economics: the invisible hand. The author explores the unintended social consequences implied by the invisible hand and discusses the mechanisms that bring about these consequences.
The book questions, examines and explicates the strengths and weaknesses of invisible-hand explanations concerning the emergence of institutions and macro-social structures, from a methodological and philosophical perspective. Aydinonat analyses paradigmatic examples of invisible-hand explanations such as Carl Menger’s ‘Origin of Money’ and Thomas Schelling’s famous checkerboard model of residential segregation in relation to contemporary models of emergence of money and segregation. Based on this analysis, he provides a fresh look at the philosophical literature on models and explanation and develops a philosophical framework for interpreting invisible-hand type of explanations in economics and elsewhere. Finally, the author applies this framework to recent game theoretic models of institutions and outlines the way in which they should be evaluated.
Economics Made Fun
Philosophy of the pop-economics
N. Emrah Aydinonat & Jack Vromen (editors)
Best-selling books such as Freakonomics and The Undercover Economist have paved the way for the flourishing economics-made-fun genre. While books like these present economics as a strong and explanatory science, the ongoing economic crisis has exposed the shortcomings of economics to the general public. In the face of this crisis, many people, including well-known economists such as Paul Krugman, have started to express their doubts about whether economics is a success as a science. As well as academic papers, newspaper columns with a large audience have discussed the failure of economic to predict and explain ongoing trends. The emerging picture is somewhat confusing: economics-made-fun books present economics as a method of thinking that can successfully explain everyday and “freaky” phenomena. On the other hand, however, economics seems to fail in addressing and explaining the most pressing matters related to the field of economics itself.
This book explores the confusion created by this contradictory picture of economics. Could a science that cannot answer its own core questions really be used to explain the logic of everyday life?