Don’t Fence Me In: Sargent rejects slogans

This is just a heads up for a recent interview with the new Nobel Laureate Thomas Sargent. In the New York Times article, “The Slogans Stop Here“, he explains the futility of trying to label economists as belonging to various theoretical or political “camps”. It is a great read, and I can’t help emphasizing the following:

“If you go to seminars with guys who are actually doing the work and are trying to figure things out, it’s not ideological,” he said. “Half the people in the room may be Democrats and half may be Republicans. It just doesn’t matter.”

These are simple, but great words. In my part of the world they are currently quite important, as the government-supporting left-wing party wants to amend the foundation for the Danish Council of Economic Advisors such that its economic experts are recruited according to their political views (allegedly to secure balanced policy recommendations). Such deliberations miss the point about economic sciences altogether. I dare believe Sargent would agree as the article says:

He doesn’t wear his political opinions on his sleeve. “They really don’t matter in my research,” he said.

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