Thursday, October 25, 2007

Robert Frank - The more natural economist

Justin Wolfers on October 3, 2007 had a post in Marginal Revolution in which he introduces Professor Robert Frank and his new book the Economic Naturalist. There are a couple of lessons that I can readily take away from the reviews and interviews. First is Professor Frank's advice to his students that their answers to the questions should be viewed as intelligent hypotheses suitable for further refinement and testing. They are not meant to be the final word. Second is that a good way to learn about a new idea is to write about it. As Professor Frank sees it, "As someone who's written a lot, I can attest to the validity of that. I've never learned as efficiently about something as when I'm trying to write about it." This weblog is based partially on that belief. There are a number of other connection which I look forward to exploring. Some are provided in the link to the Economic Naturalist.

Not being a formal student of economics, it is difficult to determine if Professor Frank's approach puts him in the heterodox category or not. I do see this approach as being more useful to my own concepts of intentional beneficial paradigm shift. The ability to think logically about the effects of actions could have on the future, at least on the local level. My attempts to understand the Grameen Phone issue raised by Fast Company is one example.

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