Robert Higgs contemplates truth-seeking. Here’s one of my favorite paragraphs:
In my career in academia, however, I discovered to my dismay that many of my colleagues had little interest in the search for truth, however one might understand or pursue it. To them, their research and publication amounted to a game in which the winning players receive the greatest rewards in salary, research funding, and professional acclaim. They understood that because of cloistered academic inbreeding, economists at the most prestigious universities consider the “smartest guys” to be those who employ the most advanced, complex, and incomprehensible mathematics in their “modeling” and “empirical testing.” I observed colleagues who became excited by their discovery of a mathematical theorem that had never been applied in economic research. These economists would look around for a plausible way to use the newly discovered mathematical theorem, to give it the appearance of economic relevance. In this way, mere technique drove research and publication. These economists did not consider, or care, whether the theorem would assist them in the discovery of economic truth; they cared only about showing off their analytical powers to impress their technically less advanced colleagues and journal editors. Unfortunately, these colleagues often did feel intimidated by the authors of articles they could not understand because they did not know the mathematical techniques employed in the exposition. This entire enterprise, which continues even now, consumes valuable time and brainpower in a misguided carnival of intellectually irrelevant one-upmanship.
The great Richard Epstein argues for letting the rich get richer. (HT Manny Klausner) Richard is right.
I want to be in this catalog! (Perhaps I could fetch as much as $10 per hour.)