Pygmalion comes alive

I actually had an economist tell me the other day that "utility" is a real "thing" out there in the world, and not just a theoretical construct to help economists understand it! Mary Morgan, in The World in the Model, has some good quotes explaining how this sort of thing happens:

"(The triumph of modelling) has created a perspectival change in the way economist view their field: they began by looking at the economic world through the lens of their models and ended by seeing their models in the world" (379).

"in the process, those small world models of their science became so familiar to economists that now, when economists look at their small mathematical models they see the real world, and when they look at that big real world they see it is a sequence of their small models" (409).

You know how when you spend enough time staring at a white circle on a black page, and then look away, you see an after-image as if it is out there in the real world? Well, that.


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