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David Walsh 1 Jan 18
My biggest criticism of is that, in his Twitter commentary, he seems unaware that historians and political scientists have been arguing FOR DECADES that the most important factor in shaping American political economy is race.
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Noah Smith πŸ‡ 1 Jan 18
Replying to @DavidAstinWalsh
Certainly not unaware. Nor were economists unaware. But until now, most have tried to work around that fact in order to get things done.
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David Walsh 1 Jan 18
Replying to @Noahpinion
That's kind of the point, though. Older historians occasionally look back on the time before the '70s fondly as the time when history was pre-eminent among the disciplines, and grumble about how economists displaced them around 1970.
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David Walsh 1 Jan 18
Replying to @Noahpinion
And often the grumbling is tied to, "history made a wrong turn with the shift to social and cultural history, with new emphasis on race and gender."
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David Walsh 1 Jan 18
Replying to @Noahpinion
So, there's a narrative out there that economists were "listened to" by policymakers because they stuck to quant methods and hadn't gotten detoured by thinking about race and gender ephemera. (This is an oversimplification, obviously).
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Noah Smith πŸ‡ 1 Jan 18
Replying to @DavidAstinWalsh
This sounds more like old social-science score-settling and academic inside baseball than helpful critique, TBH!
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David Walsh 1 Jan 18
Replying to @Noahpinion
You're more than welcome to think that and to gently mock my New Year's Day typos and brain hiccups.
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David Walsh 1 Jan 18
Replying to @Noahpinion
But if pointing out that other disciplines have been working on these issues *for decades* while you admit economists have deliberately ignored them is inside-baseball score-settling... well, so be it.
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Noah Smith πŸ‡ 1 Jan 18
Replying to @DavidAstinWalsh
The score-settling part is the bitterness against economists for trying to get sensible policy implemented in spite of the existence of racism. IMO it was a strategy worth trying. YMMV. But it must now be acknowledged that the strategy has failed.
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David Walsh 1 Jan 18
Replying to @Noahpinion
On that, we can agree. And I apologize for the rambling. I'm already violating my New Year's resolution to tweet less, but better.
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David Walsh 1 Jan 18
Replying to @Noahpinion
One followup point: I think it's unclear--at least in history--that this was a deliberate choice by economists to ignore race to leverage policy influence. I mean, that's actually pretty huge.
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Noah Smith πŸ‡
You're right, I don't have good evidence that this was intentional. Only anecdote - economists grumbling in private that policymakers wouldn't listen to them because of racism. A historian should get on this question! ;-)
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