Here too, was former Council of Economic Advisers and super-mathematical economist Ken Rogoff agreeing (a bit reluctantly it must be said) that there are things in economics that can’t be modeled. Even more telling were Rogoff’s references to the importance of the thinking of political economist and historian Charles Kindleberger whose books, once required reading, have vanished from the modern, mathematically oriented economics curriculum. In a significant aside, Rogoff noted that his students don’t consider Rogoff’s recent book on the history of recovery from economic crises to be a legitimate research effort because it is history rather than mathematics.
Lest you think that this is the new Davos, take a look at John Cassidy’s New Yorker piece that channels Keynes and wins the headline-writing award for “George Soros’s ‘Monstrous Monkey House'” including reference to a talk by Paul Volcker on international monetary reform. It sounds like a more productive discussion than the famed economist suspected.