Distinctions are inherent to analysis and necessary for any theoretical advance. But when those distinctions begin to shape our view of the world, rather than respond to it, it is right to ask if these distinctions have lost their usefulness. Challenging accepted distinctions, in turn, can itself be a source of intellectual progress.
In this conference, The Institute for New Economic Thinking and the Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) trained the spotlight on some of the distinctions that have been made by economists—between macro and micro, between money markets and capital markets, between developed countries and developing economies. When our economic theories are unable to answer the intrinsically important questions that the world repeatedly presents us with, such as those related to the stability of the financial system or the distribution of wealth and income, we must ask whether the lines we have drawn, which shape our intellectual work, and even the structure of the discipline itself, are the right ones. The conference sessions created conversations about and across the normal boundaries of the field and asked why those lines exist, what advances they permit, and what avenues they close off.
The sessions approached shared questions from multiple methodological and disciplinary perspectives and called silo boundaries out for inspection and debate, highlighting the field's problems and constraints. To our community, these constraints are very real: they condition the work economists do, the jobs they can get, and the journals they can publish in.
To view the program for the False Dichotomies conference, click here.
For the live webcast of both the event and mini school, click here.