Thursday, October 03, 2013

Beware the Golden Keys

Peter Boettke at “Coordination Problem” HERE 
To me economic science represents a golden key that unlocks all the mysteries of the universe.  Once in possession of that key, the owner can understand the way the world works -- not just market behavior proper, but all of human action and interaction from the most base to the most sacred.  But the point of this golden key is not that its value lies in unique possession, but instead grows in value the more it is shared and appreciated by others.  This is ultimately my theory of social change through education.”
I love Peter’s enthusiasm as a teacher, as shown in his book, “Living Economics”, 2012. 
But I worry at such hyperbole, given that economics covers many diverse interpretations of it content, from the bizarre to the profound (Peter is closer to the second category than the first – he’s a self-proclaimed “Austrian”, which itself has several shades).
People who believe they have the “golden key” that “grows in value the more it is shared and appreciated by others” are likely to be disappointed.  
Our discipline is littered with memorials to the ghosts of former ‘golden keys’ thinking. 


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