You Need to See the Big Picture Before You Start to Focus
This is partly because a lot of money can be spent researching very narrow or obscure issues. In true sciences, like chemistry or geology, these narrow or obscure issues can often be very beneficial in the advancement of, for instance, chemical or geologic knowledge. That’s because these additional bits of research are tied very fundamentally to strong fundamental scientific theories of chemistry or geology.
In economics, research on relatively narrow issues is not very useful because it is not tied to a strong overall understanding of economics. When you don’t understand the big picture, looking at the little picture doesn’t really help.
In geology, if we did the same thing, it would be like having thousands of people study the Appalachian Mountains to understand how mountains form. However, if you don’t understand continental drift, even if you put tens of thousands of people on studying the Appalachians, you’re not going to understand how mountains form. Beautiful mountains, yes. A lot of well-funded research, definitely. But, breakthroughs in understanding? Not a chance.
Understanding continental drift may involve looking at the Appalachian Mountains, but that’s not the focus. The focus is more on fundamental concepts of how all mountains are formed, and what could be driving the evolving nature of those mountains. Which, of course, involves recognizing that those mountains are evolving. Unless you are studying the Appalachian ...