I'm still chewing on all these, but these posts by Russ Roberts and Bryan Caplan seem to be quite disappointing.
- Russ Roberts provides a ham-fisted attempt to disprove Keynesianism, as he does every couple of weeks. He seems to be sincerely dedicated to the view that crude Keynesianism is Keynesianism, and that fiscal policy works anywhere things aren't doing well with the economy. I list a few other problems in the comment section. If find it very troubling that he teaches young people economics. This isn't even advanced macro stuff - this sort of understanding of Keynesianism wouldn't have passed my freshman year macro class. That's bad. I'm amazed commenters on here still ridicule Krugman and DeLong. Look - I know they trash the people they disagree with, but you can learn considerably more from a Krugman or DeLong post on this subject than from this post on Cafe Hayek. Read Russ, then read this, this, this, this, this, this, and this for starters. Also pick up Lawrence Klein's The Keynesian Revolution. The man is practically a Marxist, but he gets Keynes and he really cleared up a lot for me. Also go through every single comment section on this blog and read everything that Lee Kelly has ever written about monetary disequilibrium. This sort of thing makes me want to be a humble macro professor at a big public school that may not be particularly prestigious, but where I'll get to teach lots of people.
- Bryan Caplan, I think simply needs to incorporate the idea of effective demand into his discussion. If Russ was an example of confused macro, this seems to me to be an example of the sort of confused micro thinking that leads people to say things like "if they wanted it they would have demanded it in the market", and draw all sorts of bad conclusions. I could repeat some externality points here too, but I won't belabor the point.
This is why I won't be applying to George Mason this fall, even though it's just a couple blocks away from my apartment. I could do work with their public choice program - that would be interesting, but I think it would be frustrating to work with Don Boudreaux, and while I find all that fascinating it's not my primary research interest. I'd love to work with Peter Boettke, but I don't really have an interest in studying Austrian economics (even though I enjoy reading and blogging about it). The macro pool is fairly shallow.
OK - I feel like a jackass rereading this post now, but we'll see how it goes. Reading both the Roberts and the Caplan piece really took me by surprise, though. I do want to send a red flag up the flag pole on these, because I know my readers read both those blogs.
Using evidence in an "unthinking" way
2 hours ago