The Optimistic Science

In 1849, Thomas Carlyle deemed economics the “dismal science” (it was labeled such for the horrible crime of showing men rule themselves best and are better off when left alone).  But economics is anything but dismal.  In my opinion, it is quite optimistic and uplifting.  Economics is marginal analysis, that is it focuses on shifts from the status quo and how they effect outcomes (what does eating one more cupcake do to your happiness, what does hiring one more worker do to output, that sort of thing).  This analysis allows us to see how even small changes affects the big picture.

What this marginal revolution means is that everything, no matter how small, matters.  That, to me, is a comforting thought.  As the late Robert Tollison would say,”we’re all part of the equilibrium.”

2 thoughts on “The Optimistic Science

  1. Economics is not dismal. But, those with free market economics views can certainly get a dismal view of the world where so many people advocate policies that violate the principles of economics.


  2. Economics is not a dismal science. But, a world where so many advocate policies that violate the principles of economics can look pretty dismal to those who advocate free market economics.


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