INET has chosen the label “openness” to describe New Economic Thinking - “open” for other disciplines, for other methods, for other questions, for other interpretations, etc. It’s easy to hurrah. Openness is an intellectual virtue so widely accepted that one might not find a single economist who would not subscribe to it even in the so-called orthodoxy. If this is so, the reverse question must be: how open can economics become and still be economics?
For one more time traveling closer to home – Mainz! It’s been the annual meeting of the German Society of the History of Science (the kind of academic club one has to be nominated for membership). It’s been my debut in these corners of conversations about science: I walked away truly inspired and refreshed, yet without having found a new home.
Last weekend, I was in Tübingen - very close to my home town: the same smell, the same surreal Swabian idyll that makes you think of Hölderlin and Hesse rather than DSGE. Students from the German Studienstiftung (a public foundation sponsoring outstanding students), organized a workshop on “Rethinking Economics”. It took me back to my past, not only home, but also back to my first years as a student of economics. It is in these years that intellectual creativity is channeled, held back, and then needs events like this to be released again.
INET Berlin 2012 - back home again. On stage, it’s been a huge amount of claims, assertions, and arguments about what went wrong, about what exactly happened, about why this time was different, about what will certainly happen, and about what remains deeply uncertain, about what “we” shall do about it, about what “we” could do better. And despite the many uses of “we” I felt little addressed, and will not remember much of it, I’m afraid.
On my way back home from the Brandenburger Tor, I recalled that I already have been there, it must have been in 1988. Like many other Western German school kids we visited Berlin for a week. We climbed up a little elevated visitors’ platform on the West front of the gate to peer over the wall and watch Eastern German soldiers walking up and down. No way to pass.