The background for this tale is that I have just finished attending the 9th MDEF conference on Dynamic Modeling in Economics and Finance (actually, Modelli Dynamiche Economiche e Finanza) in Urbino, Italy. Alan Kirman was in attendance and was much frustrated (as was I) with the tendency for junior scholars from around the world to present very conventional neoclassical models, even if they were doing some interesting things with them, Cobb-Douglas production functions, aggregate, with ratex and rep agents, and the whole schmeer. When confronted, they would whimper and say that they did it so that it would be easier to get published, which I am sure is true, and in today's job market, I have sympathy. But they sure looked embarrassed and clearly mostly recognize that their models are fundamentallyflawed.
At the social dinner last night, Alan told the following tale of the dragon slayer over dessert. Some of these young scholars looked to be squirming a bit.
The dragon slayer was widely recognized as being the best in the world at his craft, for which he wandered about gaining praise and prestige. Then one day, a wise man informed him that there are no dragons. He became very depressed and soon dropped completely out of sight.
Then a few months later he reappeared, driving around in a fancy new car all dressed up spiffily and with a beautiful woman hanging all over him in the car. A friend asked him what was up. He said, "I have started a school to teach others to become dragon slayers."