The Epistemology of Simulation, Computation and Dynamics in Economics
Computation and Simulation have always played a role in economics – whether it be pure economic theory or any variant of applied, especially policy oriented, macro and micro economics or what has increasingly come to be called empirical economics. This is a tradition that can, without too much difficulty, be traced to the spirit and vision of the founding father of Political Economy --as Political Arithmetic -- by William Petty, whose finest exponent was, in my opinion, Richard Stone, in modern times a noble tradition whose living custodian is Lance Taylor. In this paper their spirit is the driving force, but it is given new theoretical foundations, mainly as a result of developments in the mathematics underpinnings of the tremendous developments in the potentials of computing, especially using digital technology. A running theme in this essay is the recognition --never neglected by Petty, Stone or Taylor --that, increasingly, the development of economic theory seems to go hand in hand with advances in the theory and practice of computing, which is, in turn, a catalyst for the move away from too much reliance on any kind of mathematics for the formalisation of economic entities that is inconsistent with the mathematical, philosophical and epistemological foundations of the digital computer.
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