Monday, March 7, 2011


This is out of context (from what I thought was a most interesting post by Stephen Williamson) and I apologize for that, but I'm gonna say it anyway. Williamson writes:

On the FOMC, Janet Yellen, Eric Rosengren, Charles Evans, and Bernanke himself are clearly Keynesian. Yellen and Rosengren are more Old Keynesian, and Bernanke and Evans are more New Keynesian.

It is important to see differences. I do it often, to show how my thinking differs from everybody else. But you don't catch me drawing lines from people's names to the names of economic cliques like it was some kind of matching game for kids.

It's not the categories of economic thought that are important. It's the ideas that matter. I suppose if I was educated in the subject, I'd know how a "new" Keynesian differs from an "old" Keynesian, and maybe the categories would seem useful. But what I'm sayin really is that all of 'em are wrong. Don't study the schools of economic thought. Study the economy.

God forbid we should have to cross a line and say that one idea from some other clique might just happen to be right. It's like economists have to belong to one wing or another of one political party or the other. Most people know that kind of thinking doesn't work. Not even in politics.

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