Friday, July 19, 2013

Selgin Update

George Selgin had a bad experience with a commenter on this post. I know how he feels. It's too bad if some people accept as gospel that some ideas are good, evil, right-wing, or left-wing, and suspect the motives of people they think are on the other side of the political divide. It's hard to have a sensible discussion about economics in that context.


  1. Yeah, I know what you mean. Here's a particularly kooky one from my own experience:

    "Yours seem to be the sort of assertions and logic one expects, not from a scholar seeking to show some misguided colleague the light, but from a shady lawyer trying to get a career criminal off the hook!"

  2. Its also sad that a lot of renown economists think/act in these terms

  3. Given that this very blog started off as Krugman trolling this is involuntary self-ironic.

    Not that I do not understand the Krugman trolling, voodoo monetarists who get the very basics of economics wrong ( can obviously not attract readership via quality.

    1. Does your tinfoil hat ever get hot in the summer? Do you take it off or just let your hair burn off?

  4. I disagree. Of course there is technical economics but macro can hardly be purely technical, politically neutral science.

    Just take a look at Kalecki and Keynes. The former was a left-winger so he considered demand-management as a good tool but politically infeasible whereas Keynes was a centrist liberal so he believed in technocratic solutions. Similar with Samuelson, his neoclassical synthesis should be read with his preferences for central planning.
    Or take Friedman or Hayek, naturally their libertarianism shaped their economics. Or take Stiglitz, having experienced unemployment in his hometown and having visited development countries in his twenties made him a progressive economist who is sensitive to these issues.

    Of course the long-run enlightenment goal should be to keep ideology and politics as much as possible out of economics, to really make it purely technical. But I doubt that this is possible and I go to read alert whenever I meet a macroeconomist who claims to be just a neutral technocrat

  5. The only people who see politics in macroeconomics are the people who want it there.