"I've thought for quite a while that mainstream economics is supported by an exoskeleton of empiricism rather than a backbone of general equilibrium theory. At least the parts that matter. Attacks on a monolithic ‘neoclassical economics’ - conceived as an abstract, ridiculously unrealistic construct - miss the mark, because outside the academy - and even in much of that - this is not how economics is done. Mostly modern economics is about extrapolating data series from past trends, and drawing maps rather than diagrams."Nicky Kaldor wrote:
"It is the hallmark of the neo-classical economist to believe that, however severe the abstractions from which he is forced to start, he will 'win through' by the end of the day - bit by bit, if he only carries the analysis far enough, the scaffolding can be removed, leaving the basic structure intact. In fact, these props are never removed; the removal of any one of a number of them - as for example, allowing for increasing returns or learning-by-doing - is sufficient to cause the whole structure to collapse like a pack of cards." -- Nicholas Kaldor (1966), "Marginal Productivity and the Macro-Economic Theories of Distribution", Review of Economic Studies, V. 33, N. 4: 309-319.