I think you may have uncovered the key point here, which is the American individualism that’s at the root of that country’s competitive culture. It’s the us vs them, Wild West paranoia of the sturdy pioneer’s mindset. That competitive culture makes the US strong with respect to capitalist innovation, but it also polarizes the society. That in turn seems like the basis of the two-party system. There’s little demand for the centrist middle ground on which rational compromises could be made, because that would require a more socialist or collectivist mindset which is antithetical to American individualism.

The point of calling economics a pseudoscience isn’t to take a cheap shot. On the contrary, it’s essential that we realize that economics is a pseudoscience, because that’s how we counter the economist’s scientism (or physics-envy) and prevent future Wall St cons that can blow up the world economy.

Economists thrive on the illusion that their discipline is scientific, because they use math in their analyses. Anything can be formalized with math, including sheer fantasies and nonsense. Mathematical analysis becomes scientific only when the abstract models hold up under the testing of their predictions. Indeed, this is the problem even with much theoretical physics itself (with string theory, the multiverse interpretation of quantum mechanics, etc), which is that those models are hard to test.

Economists’ models are notorious for making unrealistic assumptions (although behavioural economics is addressing this defect and is more scientific than neoclassical propaganda for plutocracy). The point is that scientism — in this case the undeserved deference shown to economics due to the economist’s penchant for hiding behind obscurantist math — is dangerous, because the mathematical presentations lend economics more cultural authority than it deserves. The scientism of economists is demolished by calling out their pseudoscientific status.

Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.

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