July 2015

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What is your judgement of how accurate Leijonhufvud's observations are for the world of the econ today? I think they were spot on in 1970-1980s economics. But what about the world we occupy today? Has life among the econ evolved or stagnated?


Right, Pete. This story held when IS-LM was in fashion -- the totem against the S-D totem. It was a fun way of seeing the differences within macro/micro back then, but it doesn't hold today and most students probably wouldn't get it. It works, though, as a piece in the history of thought.

Thanks Dave! It works best if you realise how well he has captured the jargon of the tribe of anthropologists, or at least one of the clans. Non-economists can enjoy the beginning but tend to get lost when it gets more technical.

I disagree that students today wouldn't get the S/D and IS/LM totem distinction. IS/LM is still taught in intermediate micro classes the world over, and has a strong presence in popular texts like Mankiw.

I think it is interesting to talk to undergraduates from other fields who have had experience with economics beyond intro but have not delved too deep. My general impression is that they see micro and macroeconomics as completely separate disciplines with basically no overlap.

I believe that the econ have evolved considerably. But one would not necessarily think that was the case judging by the commonly used resources the econ have created to communicate their culture to outsiders. The micro-macro caste distinction still dominates there, and is not helped by some of the most vocal and influential econ (sometimes, but not always, of the macro caste) making prophecies (with the support of the priestly caste, of course) that clearly contradicts the fundamental observations of the micro.

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