Monday, June 11, 2007

Morning After the Day Before

I'm waiting for my taxi to Dulles and reflecting on the HES Annual Conference.

Met two participants at breakfast whom I had seen during the 3 days. I remarked about the general pleasantness of the HES economic history participants compared to the general adversarial conduct during conferences of economists. Professor Young remarked that HES people didn't do adversarial. Amos added that in European History of Economics conferences, it was much more adversarial, putting it down to the participants being more economists than historians, which means HES are more like historians than econoimists.

The people I met were largely less neoclassical and more heterodox than I am used to meeting. There is also, as I have remarked earlier, more participants who study religious influences on the hisotry of economics. This is also Virginia and I keep meeeting taxi drivers and others who say they are 'creationists' and don't believe in evolution. I can never imagine anybody in Scotland discussing creationism - the belief that the world ewas createrd iun only 6,000 years ago.

Adam Smith's friend, James Hutton, was one of the first geologists(and improving farmer) to assert that the earth was many hundreds of thousands of years older than 6,000 year, which he concluded from his study of the rock formations of Scotland. He used to walk with Smith up the remnants of the volcano at Holyrood Park, just at the bottom of the Royal Mile between the Castle and Holyrood Palace. Today the eseremnants are dated at 5 million years. Hutton was one of Smith;s executors (who burnt his manuscripts on his death-bed instructions, though they tried to dither about doing it, until Smith got too agitated for them to continue the deception).

Well, the taxi has arrived. I shall post again after I reutrn home.


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