Letter: Logical economics

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The Independent Online
Sir: Gavyn Davies really has no need to feel disappointed with the subject of macro-economics, at least not for the reasons he gives in the opening paragraph of his article 'Unstoppable myths of ERM and recession' (4 May).

There should be no disappointment whatsoever when an economist uses phrases such as 'perhaps', 'if we assume' and 'ceteris paribus'. When Mr Davies challenges the reader to think of any 'important proposition that macro-economics has demonstrated, beyond any reasonable doubt, to be untrue', he is asking something illogical. Propositions on their own cannot be demonstrated true or false by macro-economics. They can only have any truth-value in the context of their application. It is only when we hear an economist begin a discussion of a proposition with the word 'perhaps' that we can assume that what follows has the ability to be sensible. When this is realised, the 'disappointing feature' of macro- economics that Mr Davies alludes to vanishes.

Yours faithfully,

ROBERT J. T. HILLMAN

Bromley, Kent

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