Dialectics as a method of economic theoryA qualitatively new stage in the development of economic science is connected with the use of the dialectical method developed in the philosophy of Hegel and his predecessors (Kant, Fichte and Schelling). The main principles of the systematization of concepts were the principles of interrelation and development.
The economic system was first considered as a developing interconnection of categories and laws, the relationship in development. This meant that each of the phenomena and the system as a whole are analyzed in the process of self-movement from the lower to the higher, from the old to the new. Contradiction appears as an internal source and the basic principle of motion. Self-development is understood as the transition of quantitative changes to qualitative and backward, as the unity and struggle of opposites, as the negation of negation.
The dialectical method was materialistically rethought and was first successfully applied in political economy by K. Marx.
The materialistic approach to the study of economic processes meant not only an objective recognition of the existence of the real world. In accordance with the materialist approach, the main active subject of the historical process is a public person engaged in productive activities. The structure-forming element was proclaimed the method of production of material and spiritual goods, determining the legal and political superstructure, forms of social consciousness. The materialistic approach also meant the fundamental possibility of knowing the objective world and its adequate reflection in the theoretical system. He assumed the unity of dialectics, logic and the theory of knowledge. In the theory of cognition, the method of ascent from the abstract to the concrete and the principle of the unity of the historical and the logical became leading.
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The dialectical method was not really mastered in its entirety. His successful application was the exception rather than the rule. As before, formal logic dominated, which at the end of the XIX century. has become increasingly mathematics.
At the beginning of the XX century. Alexander Bogdanov (1873-1928) tried to create a universal organizational science - tectology, which, according to its creator, like mathematics, is distracted from the specific nature of the elements of the system, studying them from the point of view of organization or disorganization. This makes it possible to combine socio-economic, energy and biological processes on the basis of a common structure. At the heart of such an association is the idea of equilibrium: static and dynamic. In accordance with this approach, A. Bogdanov divided all systems into balanced and unbalanced ones.
Scheme 22.2.1. Model-real-world correlation
The theory and practice of economic planning in the USSR (GOELRO, interbranch balance of 1923-1925, models of economic growth of GA Feldman, etc.) became a powerful impetus for the development of economic modeling. In 1939 LV Kantorovich created the method of linear programming. The development of technical sciences (the theory of machines and mechanisms, the theory of communication and information), mathematics (theory of algorithms, mathematical logic , probability theory, mathematical programming), as well as biology and physiology (study of regulatory systems in living organisms, IP Pavlov's theory of higher nervous activity, etc.) contributed to the emergence in the second half of the 1940s. Cybernetics. Father A new scholar was the American researcher H. Wiener. Cybernetics arose as a science of managing complex dynamic systems (regardless of whether such a system is a mechanical design or a living organism). The application of cybernetic principles to the economy was crowned in the early 1960s. the creation of economic cybernetics (VS Nemchinov, O. Lange, G. Grenevsky, S. Bir, etc.).
The economic model is a formalized description of an economic process or phenomenon whose structure is determined both by its objective properties and by the subjective target nature of the study. The creation of the model involves the loss of some information.
This allows you to abstract from the secondary elements, to focus on the main elements of the system and their relationship. The known quantities introduced into the model in the finished form are called exogenous; The values that are obtained within the framework of the model when solving the problem are called endogenous. The relationship of the model to the objective economic reality is twofold: on the one hand, the model reflects the real world, is its conditional reproduction, on the other hand it serves its transformation in accordance with the formulated goals (Scheme 22.2.1).
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Consider the modeling process in more detail. The process of constructing the model goes through a number of stages (Scheme 22.2.2). The analysis of political behavior, as a rule, is not continuous, but selective. Therefore, at the first stage, the observations of the process to be simulated take place. The formulated hypothesis is formed first in the form of an informal model. An informal model is a model in which explanatory and explanatory variables are not yet defined quite strictly. At this stage, the researcher examines various prerequisites and tries to understand which ones are absolutely necessary, and which are relatively redundant.
A formal model is a model in which all variables are defined mathematically strictly. It involves a standard set of techniques, and its possible conclusions are predictable. This does not mean that the forecast is necessarily realized, but the goals, means, and instruments of research are already clearly defined. It is at this stage that numerous errors are possible, since the translation of the informal model into the formal one is connected with the loss of some information and with an inadequate definition of its content in the mathematical apparatus. The mathematical apparatus itself presupposes certain assumptions that may be inadequate to the informal model (for example, the voter's rationality, the consistency of his preferences, etc.).
Scheme 22.2.2. Simulation Process
The stage of mathematical processing of the formal model includes a different arsenal of methods (logical, gaming, algebraic, probabilistic, etc.). This stage allows us to use the same mathematical tools to solve various political and economic situations. However, on the other hand, it often allows us to make nontrivial conclusions on the basis of a standard mathematical apparatus. Therefore, the problem of their adequate interpretation arises. This makes us compare them with those observations that allowed us to formulate an informal model and clarify or develop it. Perhaps the sample was inadequate, and our informal model turned out to be a "leap in conclusion". Or, conversely, we can expand the original hypothesis and make it a more general theory. Such comparisons refine the parametric estimation and prepare a more rigorous empirical test, which acts as the final step of modeling.
The empirical test can result in the creation of an independent econometric model. However, empirical verification is not always necessary. The study may result in the creation of a universal theoretical model, which in itself has a certain predictive power. In any case, models that make it possible to make realistic forecasts are more popular among economists. Unfortunately, their number is relatively small. The fact is that in many economic processes an important role is played by an element of randomness, which often negates well-formed forecasts.
Any modeling has its advantages and disadvantages. Let us dwell first on the merits. First, the model, greatly simplifying the reality, helps to separate the main features from the secondary, internal from external, constantly repeating from random. Many models use the condition ceteris paribus (with other things being equal - lat.) Secondly, the model helps to formalize the events taking place in society. Formalization leads to a significant refinement of the original explicit notions typical of ordinary consciousness and informal models. Thirdly, the models allow us to more accurately determine the existing patterns, of which we could guess before the model was created, more strictly define the structure of certain phenomena, time lags, etc. It is this feature of mathematical modeling that allows you to make accurate predictions. Fourth, modeling allows us to establish the essential interconnections of a higher level, to see features of commonality in heterogeneous phenomena.
All methods of analyzing economic processes can be divided into two large groups: quantitative and qualitative. The first includes statistical and econometric analysis, to the second - various humanitarian methods. The first group is based, first of all, on positivism, the second - on relativism.
In the modern economy, the methods of analysis of the first group dominate. Within it, different types of models are distinguished: one-dimensional, two-dimensional and multidimensional. The simplest kind of model is a one-variable model that allows you to answer simple questions like: what is the electorate of this candidate, how many voters voted for a particular party, etc.
Significant advances in modern economic theory are associated with the use of econometric methods of analysis. Econometrics is a division of the economy that develops and uses statistical methods to measure the interrelationships between economic variables. The most widespread development in political science was obtained by such econometric methods as models of structural equations, time series analysis and nonlinear estimations.
The world of models is diverse. They differ in the level of generalization (abstract theoretical and concrete economic), scope (macro and microeconomic), time and nature of the action (static and dynamic), the degree of structuralization (small and multidimensional), the nature of the interconnection of elements (linear and nonlinear) etc. The greatest importance in economic science is played by micro- and macro-modeling.
The prerequisites for the emergence of microeconomics are emerging in the second half of the nineteenth century, when in the economic science more and more attention is paid to the psychological factor. The Austrian school of marginal utility began to consider as an initial point of economic science an autonomous individual, independent of the surrounding world. The main task of his activity is to meet the needs in conditions of limited resources. The behavior of this individual is considered in various hypothetical situations in order to choose the optimal variant (A. Marshall's theory of choice). This assumes almost complete interchangeability of factors (labor, capital, etc.).
Scheme 22.2.3. Types of micro and macromodels
All microeconomic models can be divided into optimization and equilibrium (Scheme 22.2.3). Optimization models describe relationships within economic entities, and equilibrium models - between economic actors. In optimization models, concepts are of a limiting nature. This name comes from the English word - margin - the limit - the concept introduced by J. Hobson in his works "Industrial System" (1909) and "Labor and Wealth" (1914).
Equilibrium models are based on the search for equilibrium. The system is in equilibrium, economists believe, if the interacting forces are balanced and there are no internal impulses to the imbalance.
Economic science advocates such an approach as a collection of ready-made recipes for the conduct of an individual, a firm, etc. in standard situations, as normative science. Specifically, capitalism is given for the universal, market economy - for the economy in general. With this approach, the idea of modern society as the best as the most harmonious system is inevitable.
All models can be divided into static and dynamic.
Dynamic models are such that the independent variable changes with time: Y = F [ X ( 1 )] . Dynamic models in turn are divided into short-term (usually up to one year), medium-term (5 -10 years) and long-term (more than 10 years).
Macroeconomic models are divided into two large groups: the ex post , model that does not depend on the views of economists and are devoted to macroeconomic accountancy, and the ex models ante , which differ depending on the ideological views of their bearers.
In the 1980-1990's. The class of models with nonlinear parameters rapidly develops. They are widely used in such areas as the identification of systematic biases based on the statistics of public opinion polls, as well as in most structural equations and working with time series.
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