Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Everyone's eclectic 

There must be some explanation for this. In an article on who is heterodox in economics, the answer seem to be everyone. The journalist treats the claim with appropriate skepticism. I believe positions are occupied across the entire spectrum within economics, because everyone is incentivized to be a little different from all the others, but not too different.

It's worth remembering, as Arnold Kling did last year, that what's consensus now can become apostasy later. Timothy Garton Ash observed after the fall of the Berlin Wall that "there is no 'socialist economics' there is only economics." So convergence happened, as James Buchanan predicted many years ago ("Economics in the Post-Socialist Century", 101 Econ J., 1991; also the source of the Ash quote.) And when you get convergence, people want to find a way to differentiate themselves.

Which is as good a rationale for this blog as any.