Axioms are assumptions which are unprovable or difficult to prove.  However, they may be disproved or refuted from the facts of observation.  False axioms are fallacies which lead to illogical or unscientific propositions which contradict the real-world.  For this reason, axioms need to be constantly reviewed and tested, in order to maintain the integrity of a body of knowledge.  They are listed here.

1. Economics is the knowledge of how humans collectively meet their needs and wants under uncertainty and constraints.

2. Axiom of change: Humans evolve. Anything created by humans, including their institutions, can be destroyed or changed by other humans. Humans are both reflective and creative in meeting their changing needs and wants.

3. Axiom of fallibility: Humans are fallible, capable of both good and evil.  Given any economic objective, humans will seek to meet their objectives with the least effort or least cost. In this, they are corruptible and prone to errors.

4. Axiom of finite resources: At any instant in time, the amount of resources in an economy is finite.

5. Axiom of macroeconomics: Economic growth is generated from net investment in the production of goods and services.  Net investment is a necessary condition for wealth accumulation.

6. Axiom of wealth: New wealth is created by new products through supplying successfully to new and uncertain demand. New wealth creation cannot be planned; it comes from individuals taking gambles with their own resources.

7. Axiom on behaviour: Individual or institutional behaviour adapts to incentives, feedback and consequences.  Their behaviours in dealing with others are not necessarily moral.

While axioms cannot be proven formally, these axioms are consistent with reality.  They are used as a framework for building economic theories and models.  Economic theories including existing ones which violate one or more of these axioms are considered fallacies because they would be inconsistent with observable reality.

2 Responses to Axioms

  1. David Chester says:

    For use in Macroeconomics, the subject is introduced with the two Georgist axioms of 1879 "Progress and Poverty", which I give below.

    "Man seeks to satisfy his needs with the minimum exertion"

    "Man's needs are unlimited"

    They are oxymorons, yet it is this combination which creates the nature of the economics as we know it. I find that in almost all of macroeconomics that a combination of opposites is what drives the particular subject or activity and so I give a lot of credit to Henry George who was astute enough to begin in this way.

  2. David Chester says:

    I like the idea that there are constraints in economics. Some details of them may be found in the last chapter but one in my book: "Consequential Macroeconomics--Rationalizing About how Our Social System Works".

    In my opinion it is only after serious governments have properly understood how these restraints come into being and what to do to reduce them, that true progress in a country's prosperity can be made.

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