When I was young, I knew a small businessman that used to deal with quite a lot of currency. He marked the corner of each note that passed through his hands with a pen. I think he was interested in seeing how often the notes came back to him.
I thought of this when doing a recent post over at Econlog, on monetary offset. (BTW, the post is recommended.) Suppose someone wanted to figure out if he were having any influence on the broader economic discussion. One technique would be to “mark” each important concept with a different name. Thus you could relabel “monetary dominance” as “monetary offset”. Or “the identification problem” could be relabeled “never reason from a price change.” If these new names caught on, then it would suggest that you might have somehow influenced the conversation. Even better, the relabeler might have independently rediscovered the concepts, something that occurs quite often in the history of economics.
Why might a new name catch on? Perhaps the importance of monetary dominance was forgotten, and the idea was revived under a new name. Or perhaps the full implications of the identification problem were often overlooked, and the new term applied it to unfamiliar situations. In any case, a successful relabelling would be an indication of some sort of flaw in the economic profession, a blind spot.
PS. Here’s Bloomberg:
Such a move, which would put the U.S. president and its central bank at odds, is called a monetary offset.