Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Stories of Error and Vice Matter: Path Dependence, Paul David, and Efficiency and Optimality in Economics

Contents:

Author Info

  • Yalcintas, Altug

Abstract

Abstract: History books are full of success stories. Intellectuals are interested in such stories because they are important in human history – they are important especially for those who are willing to know more about how we have reached the peak points of human civilization. History books, however, do not always credit issues of human failure and error. The social element – that is, the set of undesirable consequences of the imperfect character of human doings – are thus left out as irrelevant. Oddities and wrongheadedness, for instance, are not at the forefronts of human notice. They are seen only as peculiarities to be corrected sooner or later. Human failure and error are important as they are often left uncorrected in time. That is to say, we keep repeating the same errors through time. Uncorrected errors of the past sometimes generate undesirability, dissatisfaction, and disappointment in the future, because such errors prevent us from producing pragmatic solutions to practical problems in the economy and society. They prevent us from reaching “the general equilibrium.” They prevent us from getting at “the fundamental truth.” The world is, therefore, not the best of all possible worlds. The world, unlike the portrayals of neo-classical economics in general and Paul Samuelson in particular, is a world of transaction costs, as Ronald Coase argued, in the form of human failure and error. Consequences of such errors, which do not disappear easily and without causing further trouble, make the idea impossible – the idea that perfection in the world of humans is achievable. I illustrate in the paper that there are such errors in human history that cause path dependence in the economy and society. Many errors in the past, I argue, are not corrected – they linger. History is therefore not only a bunch of success stories in the form of efficiencies and optimizations. History is also the stories of error – stories of path dependence. And such errors, too, should matter for historical economists.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/749/
File Function: original version
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 749.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: Nov 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:749

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Schackstr. 4, D-80539 Munich, Germany
Phone: +49-(0)89-2180-2219
Fax: +49-(0)89-2180-3900
Web page: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: Path dependence; Paul David; Efficiency and Optimality;

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Neil Kay, 1995. "Alchian and 'the Alchian thesis'," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(2), pages 281-286.
  2. Deirdre N. McCloskey & Stephen T. Ziliak, 1996. "The Standard Error of Regressions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 97-114, March.
  3. Blaug,Mark, 1997. "Economic Theory in Retrospect," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521577014, October.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:749. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ekkehart Schlicht).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.