A disorderly household – voicing the noise
DOI link for A disorderly household – voicing the noise
A disorderly household – voicing the noise book
Hitherto, the discipline of our discipline has been well equipped for dealing with a certain amount of noise (or, as defined here, disordered information). Where practitioners are concerned, the language of methodological individualism has ensured that those given voice do not meander too far from orthodox assumptions and practices; there simply has been no other language in which to talk or to do economics. As for the economic agents of the household, the error term provides the discipline with a discreet sponge for soaking up any random deviations in their behaviour – ‘white noise’ – so that models are tidy and economical in appearance. Economics is, moreover, a moralistic discipline, eliciting conformity to its maxims with a carrot and stick; in this respect, the champions of rational choice theory are both our exemplars and our masters. It is within their gift to grant dispensation to repudiate short-run utility-maximisation provided agents have long-run utilitymaximising reasons for doing so; but truancy lies beyond the bounds of acceptable behaviour. Agents who act suboptimally reap lower payoffs, and herein lies the incentive for their foolishness to be displaced by orthodox calculations of strategic advantage. Marshalled and policed by the tools of scientific method, the marginalised, the suppressed, or the merely flagellated of the household could, until recently, take comfort from knowing that the judicial process to which they had fallen victim was administered with the impartiality of an invisible hand.