. . . from John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds:
There's an economists' riddle that goes “Why are the debates in academia so bitter?” – the answer – “Because the stakes are so low.” Now, very often, that's true. I remember a presentation that Paul Krugman gave at Stanford where he was talking about a model of economic development. Paul drew a diagram on the board, and as he described it, he drew a few little arrows indicating migration of businesses from one area to another. A respected economic theorist at Stanford, Mordecai Kurz (who never drew an arrow without a differential equation), immediately jumped up and shouted “You haven't described the dynamics!!” to which Paul responded that he was indicating a general movement of economic activity toward one place to improve efficiency. Dr. Kurz pounded the table and screamed “Then erase the arrows!! ERASE THE ARROWS!!” and then stormed out of the room and slammed the door behind him. I think that was probably the exact moment that I decided to go into finance.
I don't have anything that dramatic to report. My only similar story is about a workshop given at UCLA when I was a graduate student. The workshop speaker was Nobel-winner Kenneth Arrow. After a few minutes, professor Earl Thompason stood and asked a question. Arrow answered amicably. Within a few minutes, Thompson asked another question. And then another. After the fourth--as I recall--question, Arrow looked sternly at Thompson and said, "Earl, sit down and be quiet." And to the amazement of at least some people in the room, he did.