Skip to main content

Marie Duggan on Steven Kates and the role of History of Economic Thought

Marie has reviewed Kates' recent book on the role of history of economic thought in what he correctly sees as a crisis in the profession. She tells us:
Steven Kates warns us that if the history of economic thought (HET) leaves the field of economics, economics will lose a good bit of its theoretical heart (p. 27). He makes this argument against two opposing straw men. The first is those who define an economist as someone who can apply sophisticated econometric techniques to data. The other is the view among HET practitioners that since HET has been shunted aside within economics by mathematics, the wise make allies with historians. He views this latter as dangerous to economics as a discipline: “The core issue is whether the subject area of the history of economic thought adds to the study of economics. The question is not whether there are a thousand other uses of HET” (p. 67). 
This book acts as a wake-up call that practitioners in HET may have an honorable role to play in reversing the decline of theory in our profession. That’s a big task, and Kates certainly has the fighting spirit.
Read the whole review here.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What is the 'Classical Dichotomy'?

A few brief comments on Brexit and the postmortem of the European Union

Another end of the world is possible
There will be a lot of postmortems for the European Union (EU) after Brexit. Many will suggest that this was a victory against the neoliberal policies of the European Union. See, for example, the first three paragraphs of Paul Mason's column here. And it is true, large contingents of working class people, that have suffered with 'free-market' economics, voted for leaving the union. The union, rightly or wrongly, has been seen as undemocratic and responsible for the economics woes of Europe.

The problem is that while it is true that the EU leaders have been part of the problem and have pursued the neoliberal policies within the framework of the union, sometimes with treaties like the Fiscal Compact, it is far from clear that Brexit and the possible demise of the union, if the fever spreads to France, Germany and other countries with their populations demanding their own referenda, will lead to the abandonment of neoliberal policies. Aust…

A brief note on Venezuela and the turn to the right in Latin America

So besides the coup in Brazil (which was all but confirmed by the last revelations, if you had any doubts), and the electoral victory of Macri in Argentina, the crisis in Venezuela is reaching a critical level, and it would not be surprising if the Maduro administration is recalled, even though right now the referendum is not scheduled yet.

The economy in Venezuela has collapsed (GDP has fallen by about 14% or so in the last two years), inflation has accelerated (to three digit levels; 450% or so according to the IMF), there are shortages of essential goods, recurrent energy blackouts, and all of these aggravated by persistent violence. Contrary to what the press suggests, these events are not new or specific to left of center governments. Similar events occurred in the late 1980s, in the infamous Caracazo, when the fall in oil prices caused an external crisis, inflation, and food shortages, which eventually, after the announcement of a neoliberal economic package that included the i…