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Economics Summary and review paper - Essay Example

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Simon takes on the existential issues of what it means to focus on a particular field of study like economics. He starts with the notion of what it means to have a "life philosophy" and the importance of identifying its core components. He asserts that "in one sense, a life philosophy is your picture of the universe in which you find yourself, including, in center foreground, your picture of the human condition…
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Economics Summary and review paper
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Download file to see previous pages Further, he discusses the often absurd state of being human, along with the challenges that our often conflicting needs and wants pose. In doing so, Simon conceptualizes the constructs humans use to make sense of their condition and how they apply a "common denominator" to the various claims that are made on our conflicting stimuli, which may be called the "Good" or "utility." His penchant for the human element is what led him to the social sciences is general, and economics more specifically.
Simon depicts economics as "an interest in human decision making, and especially an interest in how human beings cope with the complexities, the uncertainties, and the goal conflicts and incommensurabilities of everyday personal and professional life." He asserts that economics is a critical discipline because "the allocation of individual or organizational resources - how it is done, and how it ought to be done - remains a central question about the human condition." In order to address this central question of allocation, Simon found it necessary to migrate from his "home disciplines" of political science and economics into uncharted territory, such as psychology, computer science and artificial intelligence. According to Simon, these disciplines are where he has spent the bulk of his time since reaching this realization.
This broadened view of economics provided Simon with tremendous insight into human economic behavior. He "saw a creature of bounded rationality using techniques of heuristic search to find satisficing - good-enough - courses of action." His expanded disciplinary experience enabled him to apply computer modeling to "show that these techniques could account for the data of human problem solving in a range of both simple and complex situations."
Simon's ideas, by his own admission, remain outside of the mainstream of modern economics, but he asserts that they will eventually find their way into the main stream. He maintains that "they provide a realistic picture of human choice, a picture that may instruct us about some of the most puzzling problems confronting economics today: decision making under uncertainty, business cycles with their accompanying natural or unnatural unemployment, the role of entrepreneurship in investment, and others."
He goes on to consider the duties incumbent on humans from an economic standpoint, both positive and negative. These duties might be considered from an individual and societal point of view, and encompass the realm from doing no harm to leaving at least as attractive a range of options to future generations to eliminating poverty. He concludes that a merger of scientific disciplines such as he embraced in his own life holds the promise of offering better answers than the parochialism of life-long adherence to a single discipline. Ultimately, Simon has sought to apply concrete science and mathematics to social science as a "field of virgin snow on which one could imprint one's characters." His interdisciplinary approach promises to raise and answer questions for economics that might not otherwise have entered our consciousness.
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