Economics is mainly helpful after ethics and physics have set the terms of what should and can be done. Not before.
This is logically impossible. Setting the terms of what should and can be done is a process. If the people aren’t participating in this process… then you’re assuming their preferences. So economics (bad economics) isn’t happening after this process… it’s happening during the process.
If you don’t assume people’s preferences during the process…. then how, exactly, do you reveal them? Here are the two methods…
- Stated preference (voting, polling, surveys, Facebook “Likes)
- Demonstrated preference (willingness to pay)
If you choose the first method… then bad economics is still happening during the process. If you choose the second method… then good economics is happening during the process.
In no case can economics (good or bad) mainly occur after the process.