Friday, June 17, 2005

Reinventing the Wheel--A Defense

I often find myself ambivalent (reminds me of the Truman joke about wanting a one-armed economist--the economists he had always said: "on the one hand..., on the other hand...).

Having attacked the "creation fallacy" yesterday, today I should defend the idea of reinventing the wheel. The defense is simple: people learn by doing, often better than by any other way. Every baby born has to reinvent the way to walk. So too there are times when it's better to reinvent the wheel just to educate the policy makers. I'm using "educate" here both in the sense of learning facts but also investing or committing to the venture.

Having put this market out, I'll try to keep alert for situations in which people are accused of reinventing the wheel to see if the above is correct.

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