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(5) Criticisms of economic theory and practice
Economics has been persistently criticized for its heavy reliance on unrealistic, unobservable, or unverifiable assumptions. Some people reply to this criticism by saying that the unrealistic assumptions of economics result from abstraction from unimportant details, and abstraction is necessary for knowledge of a complex real world. So, far from unrealistic assumptions detracting from the epistemic worth of economics, such assumptions are essential for economic knowledge. Denominating this explanation the abstractionist defense, and after clarifying abstraction, unrealistic assumptions and kindred notions, at least one study has shown that this abstractionist defense does not successfully rebut the position of those who criticize economics for its unrealistic assumptions. However, it is important to note that while one school does have a majority in the field, there is far from a consensus on all economic issues and multiple alternative fields claim to have more empirically justified insights.
Economics is a field of study with various schools and currents of thought. As a result, there exists a considerable distribution of opinions, approaches and theories. Some of these reach opposite conclusions or, due to the differences in underlying assumptions, contradict each other.
Criticism on several topics in economics can be found elsewhere, in both general and specialized literature (for example, general equilibrium, Pareto efficiency, marginalism, behavioral finance, behavioral economics, feminist economics, Keynesian economics, monetarism, endogenous growth theory, comparative advantage, Kuznets curve, Laffer curve, economic sociology, et al.).