Le titre de ce billet est aussi celui de cet article d’Alan Kirman sur Vox. Il y a quelques très bonnes idées, comme par exemple dans cet extrait :
- We should spend more time insisting on the importance of coordination as the main problem of modern economies rather than efficiency. Our insistence on the latter has diverted attention from the former.
- We should cease to insist on the idea that the aggregation of the choices and actions of individuals who directly interact with each other can be captured by the idea of the aggregate acting as only one of these many individuals. The gap between micro- and macrobehaviour is worrying.
- We should recognise that some of the characteristics of aggregates are caused by aggregation itself. The continuous reaction of the aggregate may be the result of individuals making simple, binary discontinuous choices. For many phenomena, it is much more realistic to think of individuals as having thresholds – which cause them to react – rather than reacting in a smooth, gradual fashion to changes in their environment. Cournot had this idea, it is a pity that we have lost sight of it. Indeed, the aggregate itself may also have thresholds which cause it to react. When enough individuals make a particular choice, the whole of society may then move. When the number of individuals is smaller, there is no such movement. One has only to think of the results of voting.
- All students should be obliged to collect their own data about some economic phenomenon at least once in their career. They will then get a feeling for the importance of institutions and of the interaction between agents and its consequences. Perhaps, best of all, this will restore their enthusiasm for economics
La conclusion est également à méditer. J’en profite pour recommander chaudement le dernier ouvrage de Kirman, Complex Economics, qui développe une analyse des systèmes complexes qui est par ailleurs suggérée dans l’article.