While I was otherwise engaged this week, Pete Boettke was on a roll over at Austrian Economists. First was this post about economic discourse, building off of earlier posts by Tyler Cowen and Greg Mankiw, both addressing various aspects of how economists develop and communicate their ideas. Pete picks up on the apparent time inconsistency of Paul Krugman’s claims and how he communicates them. Pete worries about an increase in incoherence of economic arguments as the number and variety of communication outlets proliferate; he worries so much that it turns his natural optimism to pessimism. I’m not that inclined to become a pessimist, myself. Won’t good ideas continue to drive out bad, and good argumentation drive out bad? Sure, it’s not instantaneous, and sometimes policymakers are too swayed by economic demagoguery. But the proliferation of outlets brings out good discourse as well as bad, and increases the transparency and ability to observe and monitor quality. That’s a healthy dynamic.
Pete’s post from today about transition analysis looks very promising. I think it will help me construct a framework for analyzing institutional change in electric power, something that I’ll be spending quite a bit of time on in the next year.