Monday, February 15, 2016

Theologians and Canon Lawyers

From 1324 to 1328, William of Ockham battled John XXII the ersatz Pope and factual Bishop of Avignon, not Rome just to make a point. John was the second Avignon "Pope" and he had been trained as a Canon Lawyer. This was a critical skill at the time because the Church had taken over more than just mankind's souls. The had land, managed kings, and their empires. Canon Law was, and still is, a remnant of Roman Law and the Code of Justinian. On the other hand Ockham was a Theologian. Theology was the Queen of such studies and it was Theology that could get you called a heretic, not a nice thing to happen at the time.

Ockham reviews John's writing and behold he considers John a heretic! The result is that John declares him a heretic. From that point on Ockham becomes the first real modern political science writer. He gave up Theology and started writing about mankind and who we were and how we should be ruled. He was the first in the path to Locke, Mill, and the like.

But the point is that  Ockham was a Theologian and John a Canon Lawyer. Their trades at the time were not only orthogonal but dissonant. Now reading a blog of, I guess, one of the libertarian folks at George Mason I see in it the the battle between businessman and economists. The author opines:

Such a claim is illogical, even if we assume – falsely – that Trump earned every cent of his monetary fortune honestly rather that at least some of it through government-orchestrated theft. Knowing how to run a business is not the same thing as knowing economics.  To assume that the two domains of knowledge and expertise are the same is an error equivalent to assuming that a successful NASCAR driver is thereby an expert automotive engineer.  Of course, it’s possible for a successful NASCAR driver to know something about automotive engineering, just as it’s possible for a successful business person to know something about economics.  But success at each of the former tasks (driving a race car and managing a business) is not the same thing as, and requires very little familiarity with, the latter domains of knowledge (automotive engineering and economics).

 I get it, the author does not like Trump. Well I have no horse in this race but the point is; economists are not entrepreneurs. Economists deal with theories. Economics is not a science. You cannot do an experiment. They fling around curves and equations sine any basis. Theologies at least had the Bible to work off of. There were God's word. Try and get two economists to agree on any word.

Business and entrepreneurs deal with facts. You make money or you lose money. Entrepreneurs can create value in society, economists have no chance of doing so. So unlike John and Ockham, the lawyer and the theologian, the entrepreneur and the economist really have no point of commonality. One lives in the world of personal consequences the other on preaching to people who often with due cause have no idea what they are shouting about.