Saturday 30 May 2020 | 06:55 | SYDNEY
Saturday 30 May 2020 | 06:55 | SYDNEY

A Solow moment


Mark Thirlwell

14 September 2010 15:36

The Mankiw essay I linked to earlier includes a reference to one of my favourite quotes from the great Robert Solow

Back in the 1980s, Arjo Klamer conducted a series of interviews with economists to discuss arguments over New Classical Economics. In one interview, Robert Lucas complains that Solow has never tried to get to grips with any of the issues raised by the new approach except by cracking jokes. In his own interview, Solow explains this reluctance:

Suppose someone sits down where you are sitting right now and announces to me he is Napoleon Bonaparte. The last thing I want to do with him is to get involved in a technical discussion of cavalry tactics at the Battle of Austerlitz. If I do that, I’m getting tacitly drawn into the game that he is Napoleon Bonaparte.

And while I'm quoting Solow, here he is on Milton Friedman and monetarism: 'Everything reminds Milton of the money supply. Well, everything reminds me of sex, but I keep it out of my papers.'

Photo by Flickr user jrrosenberg, used under a Creative Commons license.