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Stiglitz and Solow are not criticizing the mainstream academic school of thought. They are calling out the overtly partisan hacks that even other mainstream scholars are uncomfortable with.

This puts Stiglitz and Solow outside the mainstream culture of economics, which doesn't police partisan hackery as long as it is politically correct partisan hackery. But it does nothing to put them outside the mainstream research tradition.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 13th, 2017 at 07:14:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And that distinction between culture and research tradition is vital. IMO, the chief reason we don't see such critiques more often is the high price so many can be made to pay for offending the interests of wealthy sponsors of self serving theory, from J.D. Rockefeller to the Koch Brothers and a whole bunch more. It is the results of those wealth serving pressures that economics resembles the fashion industry more than a scientific discipline and it is that with which I profoundly disagree. It is pressure from wealthy donors that keeps the public understanding of economics confounded and that allows the perversion of economics to do actual harm to the broader society. For instance, see Varoufakis, A Most Peculiar Failure, where he shows the way in which weak and strong claims for unprovable nonsense has marked the public discourse over economics for decades - actually, for more than a century.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Feb 13th, 2017 at 08:00:32 PM EST
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And Thomas Piketty is well within the research tradition of economics, which is why Capital is so important. Among other things it makes things more difficult for the partisan hacks, as you term them. Not that they ever seem to suffer consequences, witness Reinhart and Rogoff. Growth in a Time of Debt simply did too great a service to the donors' interests for the authors to ever be seriously discredited.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Feb 13th, 2017 at 08:09:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Joseph Stiglitz -- Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Stiglitz's most famous research was on screening, a technique used by one economic agent to extract otherwise private information from another. It was for this contribution to the theory of information asymmetry that he shared the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 2001 "for laying the foundations for the theory of markets with asymmetric information" with George A. Akerlof and A. Michael Spence.

Before the advent of models of imperfect and asymmetric information, the traditional neoclassical economics literature had assumed that markets are efficient except for some limited and well defined market failures. More recent work by Stiglitz and others reversed that presumption, to assert that it is only under exceptional circumstances that markets are efficient. Stiglitz has shown (together with Bruce Greenwald) that "whenever markets are incomplete and/or information is imperfect (which are true in virtually all economies), even competitive market allocation is not constrained Pareto efficient". In other words, they addressed "the problem of determining when tax interventions are Pareto-improving. The approach indicates that such tax interventions almost always exist and that equilibria in situations of imperfect information are rarely constrained Pareto optima."

Thus Stiglitz used a more strict, mathematical research tradition, and confronted the orthodox culture.

And currently, he is weighty activist in his critique:

Joseph Stiglitz Says Standard Economics Is Wrong. Inequality and Unearned Income Kills the Economy -- Evonomics.com

by das monde on Tue Feb 14th, 2017 at 12:54:33 AM EST
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