Earw(h)ig: I Can't Hear You Because Your Ideas are Old

Cambridge Journal of Economics, 2013, vol. 38, pp. 531-544

14 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2015

See all articles by Peter J. Boettke

Peter J. Boettke

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Christopher J. Coyne

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Peter T. Leeson

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

This paper provides a critical challenge to the Whig view of economic ideas, which holds that good ideas from the past are embodied in the common scientific wisdom. In contrast to this position, we contend that the market for ideas, while no doubt competitive in terms of scientific rivalry, is not free of distortions in the incentives and signals that guide economic scientists. As a result, ideas that are flawed can come to dominate the profession, while useful ideas are left on the proverbial sidewalk of intellectual affairs. The smooth evolution of economic thought from falsehood to truth that underlies the Whig perspective is complicated by both historical circumstances and the intimate relationship between economics and politics that follows from the attraction of public policy for those who enter the discipline.

Keywords: Extended present, Whig and contra-Whig theories of the history of ideas

JEL Classification: B10, B20, B50

Suggested Citation

Boettke, Peter J. and Coyne, Christopher J. and Leeson, Peter T., Earw(h)ig: I Can't Hear You Because Your Ideas are Old (2013). Cambridge Journal of Economics, 2013, vol. 38, pp. 531-544. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2699910

Peter J. Boettke (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
703-993-1149 (Phone)
703-993-1133 (Fax)

Christopher J. Coyne

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Peter T. Leeson

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.peterleeson.com

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