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Are Economists in Love with Tough Love?

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CAMBRIDGE – Mark Twain purportedly said that “History never repeats itself, but it rhymes.” Typically, however, what rhymes is not the underlying historical facts but the narratives we construct around them. The stories we tell about the world repeat some basic ideas that may not necessarily be true. But we like to believe that they are because they make the world more intelligible and morally certain.

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    The standard education of economists is a case in point. Beyond individual theories, the profession possesses a long list of rhymes. We recognize their meter and can guess when and how they end, because we know the previous stanzas and also know that the next phrase needs to rhyme with them.........

    © Project Syndicate

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