The assumption of my title is that the profession of economists is limited to New Keynesians and New Classicals. I think it is a fair assumption given the majority of economists working in universities, in economics departments, are one of the two neoclassical varieties.
I find two things interesting about Nick Rowe”s recent post Why New Keynesian macroeconomists are against labour unions
On the one hand, that his observation should be at all controversial is odd. From the outside of the profession, it is obvious that neoclassical economics is hostile to unions. It is baked into the fundamental model which they were both weaned and teach year in year out.
On the other hand, Rowe’s observation should be controversial because it confirms that economics is dominated by an ontological vision that is consistently against unions (and almost any non-market based forms of cooperation). I can’t think of any other discipline in the social sciences that manages to maintain such a homogeneous world view. Put differently, all other disciplines are staffed by a plurality of ontological visions. And most departments would defend this plurality on the basis of a recognition of the existential fact of human existence and the social sciences. Pluralism is not loved for the sake of pluralism but rather on the deep understanding that all ontological visions are limited and partial and thus part of a healthy academic / intellectual life requires interaction with radically different paradigms. In short, it accepts that scientific progress in the social sciences needs more than internal critiques. That is, progress requires exogenous critiques.
Perhaps when economists Like Krugman, Delong and Stiglitz refuse to be anti-union it is because they do not really buy the ontological model as correct but nonetheless use it because a) it was the price of the dance for admission into the profession; and b), find it helpful on a narrow, well specified, range of questions.
This would suggest a very different relationship to the core model by New Keynesians than their New Classical counterparts. It may not be pluralism proper but at least it is something.
Maybe economics departments need to hook-up potential candidates to lie detector tests to establish whether or not the candidate really, really, really believes the model.