Monday, January 07, 2013

What Do You Suggest?

Tyler Cowen, an econ Blogger whom I read regularly, writes on Marginal Revolution HERE .  He offers an answer to the task “If we could preserve only one sentence…”.  This is a teasing question asked of Richard Feynman, according to John Lancaster in the London Review of Books (a.k.a,, at least to me, as the Labour Review of Books).  Feynman, physicist, was asked: “what he would pass on if the whole edifice of modern scientific knowledge had been lost, and all he could give to posterity was a single sentence.                                                                                                                    Feynman offered: “all things are made of atoms”.
Tyler Cowen suggests for economists: “Today is a long run from some time back.”
I like that.  It captures the essence of the historical perspective in Smithian political economy.  
Study the past to understand the present.  That is about as ambitious as any economist can be.  Ignore the future.  You cannot influence it if you do not understand how the past created the present.


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