Friday, May 16, 2014

The quotable Solow or ridicule and New Classical Economics

So my quote of Monty Python reminded a reader (h/t Brandt) of a famous Solow quote about Friedman: "Everything reminds Milton of the money supply. Well, everything reminds me of sex, but I keep it out of the paper." Below my favorite Solow quote:
"Suppose someone sits down where you are sitting right now and announces to me that he is Napoleon Bonaparte. The last thing I want to do with him is to get involved in a technical discussion of cavalry tactics at the battle of Austerlitz. If I do that, I’m getting tacitly drawn into the game that he is Napoleon. Now, Bob Lucas and Tom Sargent like nothing better than to get drawn into technical discussions, because then you have tacitly gone along with their fundamental assumptions; your attention is attracted away from the basic weakness of the whole story. Since I find that fundamental framework ludicrous, I respond by treating it as ludicrous – that is, by laughing at it – so as not to fall into the trap of taking it seriously and passing on to matters of technique." 
(Robert Solow in Arjo Klamer, 1983, p. 146; Italics added)
His quotes were often better than his models. 


  1. Hey, hilarious post! Solow must have been a genious, sadly not in economics.
    Well, would you say something abost this sad interpretation ofSraffa? The saddest part is that it comes from "heterodox" sources...

    1. Philip doesn't get Sraffa, or Marx, or the classical authors for that matter. He is a postie, and a good one at the macro issues.


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