On the Importance of (Constructive) Criticism

A lot of what I write is critical of modern finance and modern economics. This isn’t because I am trying to be mean or hurt people’s feelings. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Most of what I write has one intent – to establish better conclusions about how things work.  Finance and economics are hugely important and hugely complex topics. We are all still figuring it out as we go along. And a big part of that is a persistent back and forth about how things work. People in this field are constantly debating about the merits of technical analysis vs fundamental analysis, micro vs macro econ, Monetarism vs Keynesianism, etc. It’s all one big discussion. No one has all the answers. I certainly know that I don’t.

Of course, money is a very emotional thing. So, many of these discussions can get heated and personal at times. I believe that criticism is an essential ingredient in becoming more intelligent and more informed. I thrive on criticism. In fact, I basically rely on being wrong at times so that people who are smarter than me can show me how I am wrong and how I can improve my understanding. And when I criticize something I am attempting to establish a more balanced and informed perspective. I am trying to be constructive. I am never trying to be destructive. That’s why I don’t engage in ad hominem attacks here. And if it appears ad hominem it’s usually aimed at someone who is obviously much smarter than I am (like Paul Krugman).

The point is, we should embrace criticism where it is constructive because criticism is an important component of becoming more informed. Of course, I am wrong about plenty of things and lots of people criticize me. You should see my inbox at times. It’s not always fun to read. But it’s all part of making progress. I hope I never come across as being personal or ad hominem. That is never my intent. So, with that said, feel free to criticize me all you want. I hope that your criticisms will make me more informed and more intelligent. And I hope you know that my criticisms are all in the effort of being constructive.

Thanks for reading.