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Some of that is a difference in eras of economics.  Solow comes from an intellectual framework -- and sort of a period -- in which there was greater emphasis on getting good answers, as opposed to the political horseshit that has characterized economics for the last 40 years or so.

One could perhaps draw a distinction between Solow and Samuelson there.  Not that I blame Samuelson for people like Lucas and Prescott (Lucas and Prescott ultimately own it), but he played a role in laying the foundation for those types.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Aug 3rd, 2013 at 02:17:50 PM EST
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Well, Samuelson is on record admitting that he deliberately excluded whole ranges of policy space from his modeling, not because those policies were more difficult to model (though they are), or because they were practically infeasible. But because he thought that politicians, when given these policy options, would make "wrong" decisions (i.e. ones he did not agree with).

That, ultimately, is the fence in modern macroeconomics which distinguishes mullahs from scientists. And once you're on the wrong side of it, the difference down to von Mises and Greenspan is merely one of degree, not of kind.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Aug 3rd, 2013 at 02:40:51 PM EST
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Samuelson is also on record as describing how a Canadian Keynesian economist who published a well received textbook in 1946 subsequently was the victim of a coordinated conservative smear that linked him and his views to, gasp, SOCIALISM. The spectacle caused Samuelson to be very careful not to be vulnerable to such an attack. He did not say so but, likely, this effort to avoid attack by conservatives substantially drove him into their arms. Samuelson knew on which side his bread was buttered.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 3rd, 2013 at 03:49:40 PM EST
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Samuelson knew on which side his bread tenure and pension was buttered.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Aug 3rd, 2013 at 07:34:50 PM EST
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