Many years ago now, Deirdre McCloskey published a wonderful paper about the intellectual state of the economics profession --- Kelly Green Golf Shoes and the Intellectual Range from M to N -- where she effectively bemoaned the mind-numbing conformity the profession was forcing upon its practitioners. Since that time matters have only gotten worse rather than better.
Thus, at the 2017 AEA meeting there was a panel of some of the professions most important thinkers on the subject of publishing and promotion. This is a must watch for anyone interested in economics.
I am partial to McCloskey's discussion of NYU and to the remarks by Angus Deaton (at 1hour 21 min mark) about GMU, but the message is not dependent on my own particular experiences or values. But instead the consequences of, as McCloskey says, when we all specialize in "being a pale imitation of MIT."
This, of course, also Buchanan's main point in his plea to "Dare to be Different". As I have argued before in discussing his "Dishwater of the Orthodoxy", Buchanan never wanted to excuse the dissenter of his professional obligations in the scientific community because he/she was an outlier, but also he never wanted those studying within his sphere of influence to imitate MIT simply because MIT was MIT.
It is time we stopped acting like Flour Beetles eating our young, and instead encouraged a diverse and dynamic discourse within the economics profession -- one that values books, and articles in non-top 5 journals, and alternative and new ways of communicating economic research and ideas within the community of social scientists and humanities.
This will only happen if the older generation in control of publishing and promotion decisions says "enough is enough" and works to allow the bold and creative to contend and challenge the conventional wisdom in the science at a methodological, analytical, and - dare I say - an ideological level. Then we will have a vibrant and engaging discourse that will ignite the imaginations of the best and the brightest among our students, and unleash their curiosity to solve the most fascinating puzzles concerning the human condition.