2014-02-13

George Selgin Is Too Good A Writer

He's so good at composing his prose that it probably gets in the way of people who would much rather have "just the facts, ma'am." At least, that is the lesson I've drawn from his most recent post at Free Banking. (Hot off the presses! I'm blogging about it here because I can't be bothered to register at Free Banking in order to comment - which I am sure they are ultimately happy about, as my blog comments tend to get annoying sometimes. Just ask Daniel Kuehn.)

For all its colorful and delightful language, Selgin's post can perhaps be condensed into a single sentence:
Indeed, the only sort of thinking that I insist is unhelpful to doing good economics is thinking about, so as to better obey, the particular methodological credos of some school.
I am reminded of that old Frank Zappa quote, "Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible."

It's possible that every valid method for conducting economic analysis was outlined by Ludwig von Mises - or anyone else, for that matter - a hundred years ago, but I doubt it. Science, social or otherwise, should always seek to discover new ideas about how to discover new ideas. Otherwise, it risks becoming an internally consistent but logically false circularity. See also: "Begging The Question Or Brainwashing Yourself."