Saturday, October 15, 2011
Posted by dkuehn at 7:55 AM
"Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking" - JMK
- Matt Yglesias talks about modern macroeconomics in terms of Kuhn's take on the Copernican Revolution. I don't think I endorse this interpretation. For one thing I think of New Keynesianism as the version of Keynesianism we got as a result of the Lucas Critique, whereas here Yglesias is juxtaposing the two. Is there an incomensurability between the two? No, I really don't think so. He also just seems to analogize the two as "New Keynesianism is messy" and "Epicycles were messy", and I'm not sure that's the best way to draw parallels either. "Messiness" is largely dependent on the complexity of the subject of study and exactly what you're choosing to model in that subject. The question is - are we working at what Kuhn called "normal science" or not? I think there's a ton wrong with this interpretation, but it's interesting.
- A better Matt Yglesias criticizes Kocherlakota: "if at first you fail, then fail, fail again". I've criticized this mindset recently, to Bob Murphy's chagrin. People act as if the fact that we're not in utopia right now means that what we tried briefly three years ago is absolutely the wrong answer. If you want to say it never was the right answer, that's one thing. You can argue that point on its merits. But don't look around and say "we tried stimulus once, we're still in a bad position, stimulus must not work". As Gene Callahan once noted, it's like saying that because death from pneumonia occurs when people fail to respond to antibiotics, the key to not dying from pneumonia is to stop taking antibiotics (instead of... maybe... more aggressive treatment).
- Abstract thought, recipe following, and chemistry in some highly evolved (but not quite as highly evolved as us) primates. Humans are truly amazing creatures.
Labels: assault of thoughts