Who made economics?

The discipline of economics has a high level of intellectual status, even hegemony, in today’s social sciences — especially in universities in the United States. It also has a very specific set of defining models and theories that distinguish between “good” and “bad” economics. This situation suggests two topics for research: how did political economy …

Poverty and economics

How important should the subject of poverty be within the discipline of economics? Some economists appear to think it is a very small issue compared to the magnificent mathematics of general equilibrium theory. Others believe that economics should fundamentally be about the sources of human well-being and misery, and that understanding poverty is absolutely fundamental …

Value-free economics?

  A recent volume by Vivian Walsh and Hilary Putnam,  The End of Value-Free Economics, brings to a fine point a line of argument that has been brewing for fifteen years: is the logical positivist insistence on separating "fact-based" science from "value-based" ethics any longer a tenable one? Most particularly, are there now compelling reasons for declaring that …

Economics and the historian

What are some of the important ways in which economic analysis is pertinent to historical research and explanation?  This was the topic of a cutting-edge collection edited by Tom Rawski over ten years ago (Economics and the Historian), and it is still a unique contribution.  Rawski is a good historian of China and a good …

Alternative economists

Traditional neoclassical economics has missed the mark quite a bit in the past two years. There is the financial and banking crisis, of course; neoclassical economists haven't exactly succeeded in explaining or "post-dicting" the crisis and recession through which we've traveled over the past year and more. But perhaps more fundamentally, neoclassical economics has failed …

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