On debt, growth and the austerity. The latest academic kerfuffle in the world centres on the research, credentials and integrity of two Harvard professors, Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff. They have been furiously attacked for the publication of their academic paper entitled "Growth in a Time of Debt" in May 2010. You may be thinking, but why? Joining the myriad of debates arising in the industrialised world about the best way to recover from the Great Recession, a simple spreadsheet coding error caused a major stir.
As humans, we all make errors. Some more serious than others. Our attention should not be diverted from the fact that the efforts of Reinhart & Rogoff (and numerous other academics who cannot be acknowledged for present purposes due to space limitations) contribute to social science research. Rather than criticise them for errors, we should understand and be grateful for their contribution.
Everyone will learn from mistakes. And this is another example of one we can all learn from. The irony is, our society appears to be experiencing a Great Recession in terms of tolerance for human error and respect for another's view, whether it be correct or not.