Ignorance is Bliss, Among Economists
| Peter Klein |
Everyone knows that economists tend to be woefully uninformed about the history of their discipline. But one can still be surprised. At a recent luncheon I was seated next to an editor of one of the leading field journals in economics. This journal publishes mainstream, fairly technical articles in its specialty area and is quite highly ranked by the usual measures. The luncheon speaker was Kenneth Arrow.
The journal editor literally did not know who Arrow was. He recognized the name, and had a vague idea that Arrow was someone important, but could not name even one general area in which Arrow worked (general-equilibrium theory, information economics, social choice, etc.).
I resisted the temptation to ask if he’d heard of Adam Smith or Karl Marx.