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At what point does good math become bad science? Philosophy and religion professor Alan Jay Levinovitz critiques the “talismanic authority” of little-understood mathematic models that lend an aura of scientific truth to economic theories that may not deserve such designation. In the course of his analysis, Levinovitz draws insightful parallels between the “quasi-theology” of ancient China’s adherence to “li models” and modern-day belief in the predictive power of economic theory. getAbstract recommends this article to policy makers, executives and investors.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why economics is an overhyped discipline,
  • How mathematics contributes to economic theory’s overstated claims to “empirical authority” and
  • How modern economics bears troubling resemblance to historic pseudoscience.

About the Author

Alan Jay Levinovitz is an assistant professor of philosophy and religion at James Madison University. His most recent book, The Gluten Lie: And Other Myths About What You Eat, was published in 2015.



Despite having failed to predict 2008’s “Great Recession,” many economic theorists continue to command hefty salaries and to claim their discipline is the “most scientific of the social sciences.” In light of economics’ failures to deliver on predictive promises, why hasn’t society ceased its veneration...

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