Almost a year after having published my Critique, I had an interesting conversation with a leading critic of mainstream economics. Admittedly, I respect him for his outstanding efforts in studying neoclassical economics and for the rigor with which he exerts his critique. I showed him my last draft on the realism of new classical macroeconomics in order to get some critical remarks from him… And the quarrel started.
Actually, I ruined his arguments. I try to explain it. In his most important publication he exerts a systematic critique on the inconsistency of neoclassical and mainstream economics. When got to rational expectations, at the head of the given chapter, he used some sentences in which he seems to have written about the realism of neoclassical economics. It was my starting point, since I have never believed that neoclassical models should directly be confronted with reality, and it was exactly his view. For him, neoclassical mainstream is lacking in any descriptive relevance, since this theory fails when compared directly to reality. I have never debated his arguments… Neither this one on a direct comparison, nor others, for example on some logical inconsistencies found in the neoclassical macro-theory. So, I tried my best to preserve his line of reasoning, while arguing for the fact that abstract models should never be compared directly to reality. Actually, it is the essence of my view on new classical macroeconomics, too. So, all in all, I ruined his argumentation, because I used his thoughts he outlined against neoclassical mainstrem theory in a context which I made fundamentally supportive as to mainstream economics. I made my best to argue for new classicals while using his reproving ideas.
So, a couple of days ago we started talking about the relevance of mainstream economics. It became obvious soon that we can hardly agree with one another… What is more, he was deeply offended by my efforts to use his arguments in defending new classical macroeconomics. So, our conversation came to a halt. I am sorry about it and I am somehow disappointed… I thought him to be much more open-minded, however, he refused to listen to my arguments and started to repeat his well-known thoughts about the irrelevance. It was not a conversation, rather two parallel monologues. In the end, he asked me not to use or cite his works any more. I think it is the worst kind of scientific debates.
To be honest, I could learn a lot from this quarrel. I think he is right, I ruined his work. The root of the problem is that he did not consider the philosophical or methodological implications of his work. His phrasing has a radically different meaning in the philosophy of economics. When I approached his thoughts with a methodological background, I found some hidden meaning he may not be aware of or he never intented saying or writing. All this quarrel was about two sentences… When I read these sentences, the meaning is clear… And when I told him what they meant for me, he disagreed with me. But anyway, he was right. There are occasions when the views are so far that the partners cannot find a common ground for a conversation that makes sense.