1. technical analysis (chiefly academic): The Holy Grail of Economics. I.e., a mechanism that permits publishing AER papers (i) even less comprehensible and (ii) even more divorced from reality than (say) Samuelson's.
2. technical analysis (chiefly applied): "I want to force you to come to a particular conclusion, for my own ends, without regard to whether it's true or not. But I don't want to lie in print. Therefore I need a mathematical tool that is (i) incomprehensible and that (ii) can be divorced from reality when necessary" (see definition 1).