Modern Priests

Here is a very good and pertinent article by Alex Andrews, a Ph.D. student at the University of Nottingham.

Mr. Andrews rightly points out that the modern area of study and knowledge we call “economics” is really a metaphysical construction we should more accurately designate a “faith.” Like other modern areas of so-called knowledge, it has longingly wanted to be thought of as a “science,” as objective and pure as the driven snow. Masquerading behind a complex mathematics which it waves like a magic wand to “prove” its validity and power, it has held western nations in thrall since at least the 19th Century. This is another area that is being unpacked/deconstructed by the move from modernity to postmodernity (as slippery as those designations are) and not a moment too soon.

But we could go further. Frankly, from the social sciences to biology, we could replace the designation “economics” with these others areas of knowledge and the rest of the article and its main charge would all apply to them as well.

The economist and the scientist are simply the modern priests. And there is now a crisis of faith.

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1 Response to Modern Priests

  1. Burk Braun says:

    Very interesting. Of course Marx was an economist as well, or so they thought at one time. And what's so terrible about being a priest, anyhow!? Isn't that everyone's goal? Really, the problem is not so profound as your linked author makes it seem, however, since there are plenty of scientific aspects to the modeling and measurement of economic activity. It is just the modeling of human beings that could use some help (and humility). Some very good work is being done on the psychology of economics, which is putting the field on more realistic footing. As ever, the project of telling us what we should or should not be doing, whether cloaked in economic determinism, or theological inerrancy, or papal infallibility, are all poses taking power from individuals, who are (or should be) the final moral arbiters.


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