Econophysicists to the Rescue?

Back when I used to study physics, there was a joke about how physicists arrogantly believed that they were smarter than all other scientists, since all science is ultimately based on physics. That organism you biologists are talking about? If it weren't for physics it wouldn't exist. I guess it wasn't entirely a joke, because some physicists really believe this line of reasoning. In fact, an article from Eric Dash in the New York Times this week indicates that some physicists are also trying to claim that the social sciences just boil down to applied physics, starting with economics:

"New approaches are needed to address the fundamental and practical challenges of our financial, economic and social system," a group of econophysicists wrote recently in an open letter to George Soros, the billionaire investor and philanthropist.

Macroeconomists construct elegant theories to inform their understanding of crises. Econophysicists view markets as far more messy and complex -- so much so that the beauty and logic of economic theory is a poor substitute. Drawing on the tools of the natural sciences, they believe that by sorting through an enormous amount of data, they can work backward to find the underlying dynamics of economic earthquakes and figure out how to prepare for the next one.

It's a pity that Einstein didn't do any work on economic bubbles.

Read the full story at the New York Times.