Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Comment of the day, from Kevin Quinn

This little gem is in reference to Daniel Klein's work and his rules for "disciplining theory", by asking yourself:

1. Theory of what?
2. Why should we care?
3. What merit in your explanation?

Kevin Quinn responds:

"This from the guy whose argument for the central importance of the Invisible Hand in Smith's work was that, while the idea comes up explicitly only twice, once in WN and once in TMS, in each case they appear in the exact center of the text!!!!!! Where was #3 then, DK?"

Where was it indeed. Gene Callahan was also skeptical about GMU professors' habit of being very critical of other peoples' work with regard to #2 as if they were ultimate arbiters (you see this a lot in risk vs. uncertainty discussions... because uncertainty is interesting and important many of them act like tough theoretical grappling with the problems of risk are pedantic). I agree with Gene's hesitation with GMUers on that point, and I also find it ironic since they are often so alone in what they consider to be important questions of economics.

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