Reply To: Economics relation to material and social sciences


Professor Herbener,
Came across the following in the Rothbard Reader, end of chapter 27.
It seems that Mill sees economics as not a social or behavioral science but a moral one, yet without value judgements. Yet I suspect liberty would be the value.

“It should be noted that economics is profoundly different from all other social or “behavioral” sciences. The latter, which try to develop sci- entific laws of the content of men’s actions, are determinist, mechanistic, and therefore behaviorist: men are treated like stones to be “observed,” charted, and “predicted.” Genuine economics, especially economics as it has emerged in praxeology and as shown by Dr. Kirzner, is quite the oppo- site; instead of mechanistically substituting behavior for action, it grounds its deductions squarely on the axiom of action, which means in essence on the axiom of man’s purposiveness and freedom of will. The conserva- tive, properly suspicious of the anti-human essence of the “social science,” should recognize that in economics, particularly economics in its most developed praxeological form, he has a staunch and extremely important ally. Praxeological economics rests squarely on the reality of the individual person, not on the collective; and instead of burying values and purpose, it portrays the individual as striving purposively to achieve his cherished ends. While, therefore, the actual construction of the edifice of economic law is strictly Wertfrei, in the deepest sense economics is not a “behav- ioral” nor even a “social” but—what Mill this time correctly called it—a moral science.”