Is economics a science?

Alvey, James. (1982). Is economics a science? Master's Thesis, School of Economics, The University of Queensland.

Attached Files (Some files may be inaccessible until you login with your UQ eSpace credentials)
Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
THE14947.pdf Full text application/pdf 32.30MB 2
Author Alvey, James.
Thesis Title Is economics a science?
School, Centre or Institute School of Economics
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 1982
Thesis type Master's Thesis
Total pages 164
Language eng
Subjects 14 Economics
Formatted abstract
This is an essay in political economy rather than economics per se for unlike economics it attempts to examine the validity of the claim of economics to the title of science. In doing so the writings of three famous economists Smith, Jevons and Marshall will be examined and these three chapters form the bulk of the essay. It is shown that over the period since Smith's Wealth of Nations was published the discipline's basic assumptions method and conclusion have remained virtually unaltered. Whilst economists and especially of its more prominent practitioners such as Friedman proclaim the discipline to be value-free and a positive science, this thesis argues precisely the opposite.

The literature applying the philosophy of science methodology to the history of economic thought is rejected because it implicitly accepts the notion that economics is a science. The conclusion of this thesis is that economics presupposes a specific teleology of man and is therefore incompatible with science itself. The philosophy of individualistic hedonism which comprises the "philosophic core" of economics. The end which is served by economic science, namely universal wealth can only come about under a specific institutional framework of society, namely market capitalism. Alternative institutional settings may aim for goals such as national independence (Albania) or human equality (China during the Cultural Revolution).

To be a true science, economic laws must be applicable at all times, and places, and all institutional settings. Instead of supply and demand being natural law it is more accurate to say that when no government intervention is felt necessary the market price of a commodity may in the long run come to reflect the ratio between supply and demand.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses (non-RHD) - UQ staff and students only
Citation counts: Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Fri, 10 Dec 2010, 12:59:10 EST by Ning Jing on behalf of The University of Queensland Library