The Cuban missile crisis is defused I think with real humanity by Kennedy, and by Khrushchev. Then they both basically reached the intuition, “This is insane, the way we’re acting. This is crazy.” They find a way to reach an agreement next year. It’s an agreement in which typically the right on both sides that they face, or the hard-liners, the nationalists on both sides, say, “You can’t agree with each other!” and they find a way to reach an agreement. So to me, it is a paradigm of how we can stay alive in this world and actually get somewhere.
To my mind that reflects at least my style of what I believe is the way to do this, which is to say, “Well, what does a solution look like?” It comes back to what [Thomas] Schelling called a focal point for bargaining. Here’s where we could go. I think that is very important to identify in messy situations. Here’s where we can get to. Don’t you see, for all of us, that’s an improvement, that’s better than the mess that we’re on? I believe if you say that enough and you’re clear enough about it, you’ll actually get there.
Or, not really, but you’ll have the best chance of getting there, that that’s a style of problem-solving that we should try to use in these noncooperative games that we play, so-called, which is that there is no magic answer. There is no one leader that defines the solution. We have to actually agree on something. It seems to me to be a good idea to try to agree on something.
En el fondo tiene que ver con una conversación que tenía el otro día con Checa: uno de los problemas de la economía actual es que sigue actuando como si los humanos fuéramos robots, optimizadores del retorno económico, en lugar de apelar a nuestra humanidad. Eso sí, sigue pareciéndome algo complicado aceptar que él es el único que tiene razón, y no todos los demás economistas...En ese sentido, me ha gustado muchísimo más la aproximación de Rodrik, y su cita de Dixit:
I’ve said this before. I hate the notion of best practice. I think this is probably a very harmful notion. I was a student of Avinash Dixit, who was a great economist at Princeton. He likes to say, “The world is second best at best.”