Open-mindedness by Mankiw

Gregory Mankiw. Harvard Economics.
Gregory Mankiw. Harvard Economics.

One of my pet-hates is close-mindedness. It occurs when a person is completely adverse to challenging thoughts and theories, thus portraying the upmost conviction for their argument and refusing anything else.  This quote from Gregory Mankiw, a celebrated PhD Economist at Harvard University and famous among Undergrads for writing the core text ‘Macroeconomics’, particularly stood out for me:

“The best scholars maintain an open-mindedness and humility about even their own core beliefs. Excessive conviction is often a sign of insufficient thought, which in turn may be derived from a certain pig-headedness. Intellectual maturity comes when you can maintain the right balance between informed belief and honest skepticism. ” (source)

As economists there are many different viewpoints: capitalism vs. marxism, classical vs. keynesian and even keynesian vs post-keynesian; but I think one of the most important things we can do as economists is to maintain an open-mind. Instead of portraying excessive conviction, to the point of being close-minded, maybe it’s better to try and understand the flaws in one’s theories, therefore stretching the ability of the mind to incorporate new philosophies.

It should certainly lead for a more exciting education.



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