Três ensaios críticos sobre o processo de matematização recente da economia no Brasil e no mundo

Bresser-Pereira, Luiz Carlos
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The possibility of the economy becoming more mathematicized began with the marginalist revolution in the late nineteenth century. However, effectively, the process of mathematization of economic discourse would only become widespread, according to MIROWSKI (1991), from 1925 onwards. In an attempt to elucidate how this process took place and when it occurred in Brazil, we wrote three critical essays on the subject. The goal of the first essay is to make more accessible to Brazilian students and researchers a discussion that is held somewhat dispersedly in our country, and also to encourage further research on the subject. This subject is the discussion about the influence of the crisis in mathematics and physics of the early twentieth century on economic discourse. To see how this happened, we investigated the texts of some of the main authors who dealt with the subject. So we seek to elucidate the differences in rigor between the different models in Economics before and after the creation by mathematical physicists of quantum physics and non-Euclidean geometry, as well as its impact on general equilibrium theory. In the second essay, we begin by presenting the main benefits generated by the mathematization of economics, according to what is proclaimed by some of the advocates of the progress of the mathematical formalization of the economic discourse. After that, we point out the more traditional criticism to this mathematization process. Then we focus on the recent criticism of GILLIES (2005) about the the prevalence of operational numbers in economics. Later we analyze the criticism presented by BRESSER-PEREIRA (2008), who considers that the hypothetical-deductive method used by the 'mainstream' is inadequate for economics. Finally, bearing in mind the definitions of BRESSER-PEREIRA (2008), we tentatively associate the reproduction of the hypothetical-deductive method to a metatheoretical process triggered by the theory of general equilibrium. In our third essay, we check how mathematical formalization in economics advanced in Brazil in the last three decades. To see this, we classified into several categories all the articles published in three major economic journals of the country (Revista Brasileira de Economia, Estudos Econômicos and Revista de Economia Política) and also the papers presented at the meetings of ANPEC (Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós Graduação em Economia) from 1981 to 2010, according to the type of argument used. The total of articles analyzed was 5733. We try to notice if there was a turning point in the trajectory of economic discourse, making it more mathematical. Finally, in order to reinforce our analysis, we focus on the process of mathematization through the observation of a quantitative variable: equations per article.

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