Monday, April 4, 2011

Links 4/4: Academic choice theory; madness in high places

  • Blacklisted Economics Professor Found Dead: NC Publishes His Last Letter - 04/04/2011 - Yves Smith
  • I was not aware of this man’s work, but it describes my own feelings as an apostate academic economist about academic economics and academic economists.  This is must read for regular readers of this blog.  A representative quote (the professor is responding to questions in a letter from a bright high school student):


    What kinds of proposals could help to minimize value destruction by academic economists? You are quite right that from the point of view of the public this issue looms large. Even in most Western democracies, more than half of the total GDP is allocated according to principles promoted by agents subject to Academic Choice dynamics, i.e. economists. One simple remedy to the large negative externalities generated through their academic entrepreneurship could be to shrink the size of the sector of academic economists.
    Another approach is indicated by the game theoretic insight that winning strategies in competitive games usually involve a random element. Following this principle, ever since antiquity trials have been decided by juries who are chosen by lot. We should therefore strongly consider periodically repopulating economics departments with people selected at random. […]

    When working in industry one needs to harmonize one’s models with empirical reality as best one can, while cognitively harmonizing the systemic context of one’s efforts in the tradition of trying to do good within the system, being part of the solution, and so on.  And trying to give money to the poor until it hurts.

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