After a bit of reading online I think I’m finally on the trail of what I’ve been searching for – how to link different ideas together across different hierarchies. Here is the situation now – I am studying economics and as I learn about key economist I want to understand where they are in the context of different schools of thought. For example, Milton Friedman is listed as “Chicago School of Economics” by Wikipedia, Ludwig von Mises as “Austrian“, and Paul Krugman as “Keynesian.” The typical presentation is a simple hierarchy, maybe in a mind map format.
It’s simple to understand the levels of the hierarchy but what I want to know is what are the cross-connections between different people. For example, which people tend to co-author articles with people from other schools of thought? Which individuals bridge the space in-between different schools of thought? Which universities are graduating people into these schools of thought? For example the University of Chicago seems to have fewer Neo-Keynesians.
As a seasoned researcher you come to expect a particular bias merely through your experience, but as someone new to the field I have a hard time placing what some of the influencing factors on the research might be. If however there was a way that I could see quickly which schools some of these main thinkers came from or worked at, I could orient myself in a broad sense quickly. When I start to ask these questions I begin to wonder if these hierarchies of thought we create are all that meaningful.
We all have an urge to categorize and sub-divide but the problem with traditional hierarchies is we are limited to a single dimension or way of sorting. The future is in “semantic” links that allow items to be linked together with meta-data describing the type of link. I will be posting more soon about some of the partial solutions I’ve found. So far nothing seems to answer the underlying problem.
Related articles from other blogs
- Economics School Of Thoughts (marjanarbab.wordpress.com)
- Paul Krugman vs. the World – Businessweek What has been getting… (underpaidgenius.com)