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Economics and its Discontents

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Economics and its Discontents

Twentieth Century Dissenting Economists

9781858982724 Edward Elgar Publishing
Edited by Richard P.F. Holt, Professor of Economics and University Seminar, Southern Oregon University, US and Steven Pressman, Professor of Economics and Finance, Monmouth University, US
Publication Date: 1998 ISBN: 978 1 85898 272 4 Extent: 304 pp
In Economics and its Discontents each chapter explains what it means to be a dissenting economist and examines how and why the work of the featured economist constitutes dissent. It demonstrates that dissent in the profession extends beyond ideology and that dissenters can come from radical, liberal or conservative backgrounds. Dissent is considered in many respects, including how economics is taught, the methodology of economic analysis, the lack of attention economists pay to the real world behaviour of individuals, the narrow and limited assumptions made by economists, the inappropriate attempt of economics to dominate all social sciences, and the policy conclusions reached by standard economic analysis. The dissenters featured in this book suggest that there is a better way to do economics, and a better way to be an economist, and each has helped keep economics honest by constantly questioning traditional thinking. This book salutes and celebrates these dissenters who exemplify the very best of the discipline. If economics is again to be a respected field and a highly regarded profession, we must look to these dissenters to point the way forward.

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Critical Acclaim
Contributors
Contents
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Dissenters have a common dissatisfaction with economics as it is currently practised, and they recognise that twentieth century economics has failed to explain real world economic phenomena. This major book focuses on the work and lives of seventeen of the most influential dissenting economists who have shaped twentieth century economics and who continue to make economics more relevant.

In Economics and its Discontents each chapter explains what it means to be a dissenting economist and examines how and why the work of the featured economist constitutes dissent. It demonstrates that dissent in the profession extends beyond ideology and that dissenters can come from radical, liberal or conservative backgrounds. Dissent is considered in many respects, including how economics is taught, the methodology of economic analysis, the lack of attention economists pay to the real world behaviour of individuals, the narrow and limited assumptions made by economists, the inappropriate attempt of economics to dominate all social sciences, and the policy conclusions reached by standard economic analysis. The dissenters featured in this book suggest that there is a better way to do economics, and a better way to be an economist, and each has helped keep economics honest by constantly questioning traditional thinking. This book salutes and celebrates these dissenters who exemplify the very best of the discipline. If economics is again to be a respected field and a highly regarded profession, we must look to these dissenters to point the way forward.

This book will be welcomed by professional economists, researchers and postgraduate students, especially those interested in the history of economic thought, and economic methodology and philosophy.
Critical Acclaim
‘This is a fine collection. . . . These are good, thought-provoking essays, much more than the personal biographies one might expect in a book about economists. I learned from these essays and recommend the book without reservation.’
– William S. Brown, Review of Political Economy

‘. . . the essays overall are of high quality . . . a stimulating, timely, and disquieting collection.’
– G.C. Harcourt, The Economic Journal

‘As usual, the Edward Elgar book production is excellent in format and presentation. . . . The index is detailed and serves a very useful purpose in such a broad ranging book. . . . Holt and Pressman do an excellent job of having a very diverse group of authors raise the whole issue of the nature of dissent and how it applies to great intellectuals in economics over one hundred years.’
– Jerry Courvisanos, History of Economics Review

‘This work will be beneficial to students studying the history of economic thought or professionals interested in investigating eclectic points of view.’
– J.M. Nowakowski, Choice
Contributors
Contributors: J.E. Biddle, P. Boettke, V. Chick, C.M.A. Clark, D. Colander, Z. Emami, R.B. Emmett, M. Forstater, R.P.F. Holt, J.E. King, H. Kurz, D. Latzko, F. Lee, L.S. Moss, E.A. Paulin, S. Pressman, C. Rider, N. Salvadore, W.J. Samuels, M. Sawyer
Contents
Contents: Introduction: Dissent in Twentieth Century Economics (R.P.F. Holt and S. Pressman) 1. The Seditious Dissent of Barbara R. Bergmann (E.A. Paulin) 2. James M. Buchanan and the Rebirth of Political Economy (P.J. Boettke) 3. John R. Commons and the Compatibility of Neoclassical and Institutionalist Economics (J.E. Biddle and W.J. Samuels) 4. The Tenacious Dissent of Milton Friedman (D. Colander) 5. Friedrich A. Hayek: Super-dissenter (L.S. Moss) 6. John A. Hobson: Dissenting Labour Economist (J.E. King) 7. The Policy Dissent of Nicholas Kaldor (S. Pressman) 8. The Positive Dissent of Michal Kalecki (M. Sawyer) 9. Dissent and Continuity: John Maynard Keynes (V. Chick) 10. Frank Knight’s Dissent from Progressive Social Science (R.B.Emmett) 11. Oskar Lange’s Dissent from Market Capitalism and State Socialism (C. Rider) 12. Imagining the Possibilities: The Dissent of Adolph Lowe (M. Forstater) 13. Gardiner Means and the Dissent of Administered Prices (F. Lee) 14. The Theoretical, Methodological and Pedagogical Dissent of Joan Robinson (Z. Emami) 15. Thomas Schelling’s Dissent from the Narrow Scope of Economics (D. Latzko) 16. Piero Sraffa and Mainstream Theory (H.D. Kurz and N. Salvadori) 17. Thorstein Bunde Veblen: The Quintessential Dissenter (C.M.A. Clark) Index

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