Thursday, 16 June 2016

When Economic Pluralism Doesn't Help

As I have explained many times here, the Curse of the Heterodoxy is juggling a number of very different frameworks at once, and the vast amount of reading even a rudimentary understanding of them requires. It makes my regular double-think and Ferguson's cognitive dissonances seem trivial in comparison.

Sometimes (=quite often), understanding many different frameworks in economics really helps; it gives you perspectives, you have a better understanding of turning points and disputes between economists if you see where they come from, and it really gives you a much better grasp of what's crucial, what's important and what's the underlying assumptions in many arguments. Overall, I'm convinced it makes me a better scholar of economics.

Sometimes, however, it gives me nothing. Like yesterday morning when I realized how little I understand of my monetary unit. Not monetary economics, I would argue, since I spend most of my time reading about financial systems, monetary policy, researching central bank data, and writing essays on financial crises - but the crazy models this particular unit uses. I always doubt my math skills, and this technical unit is math-heavy to say the least. Skipping lectures for a months probably doesn't help either - and it would be easy but futile to criticize their reliance of imagined mathematical relationships and RE agents.

Point is, calls for economic pluralism for all its benefits and failures, reading broad and diverse literature helps me nothing whatsoever with this:

Nothing in PKE, Marxian, Institutionalist or Austrian strands of economics (or the economic history literature) prepares me for juggling different minor monetary models with tens of variables, formulas and market-clearing conditions and FOCs. How I am suppose to remember let alone solve any of this?

Pluralism and embracing your enemies is fine and respectful and all, but it is adjective-defyingly useless in helping me through this exam.

Fuck this.

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