Tuesday, December 20, 2011

History Remains a Discipline; Economics is a Bunch of Blather

Over to Naked Capitalism there is a two part series on economics and how it got that way. One interesting point is that 
the grey- beards summarily expelled both philosophy and history from the graduate economics curriculum; and then, they chased it out of the undergraduate curriculum as well. This latter exile was the bitterest, if only because many undergraduates often want to ask why the profession believes what it does, and hear others debate the answers, since their own allegiances are still in the process of being formed. The rationale tendered to repress this demand was that the students needed still more mathematics preparation, more statistics and more tutelage in ‘theory’, which meant in practice a boot camp regimen consisting of endless working of problem sets, problem sets and more problem sets, until the poor tyros were so dizzy they did not have the spunk left to interrogate the masses of journal articles they had struggled to absorb.
In other words, if you want to assure that you will be wrong for evermore on any issue of importance assume that you are now and for evermore right and that this righness arose without and prolonged period of intellectual struggle.

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