Why Aren't Economists as Important as Garbagemen? Essays on the State of Economics

Why Aren't Economists as Important as Garbagemen? Essays on the State of Economics

Why Aren't Economists as Important as Garbagemen? Essays on the State of Economics

Why Aren't Economists as Important as Garbagemen? Essays on the State of Economics

Excerpt

Some of my best friends are economists; I say this at the beginning of this collection of essays because, while the title suggests that I, like Brutus, have come to bury economists and economics, I have actually come to praise them. Oh, I criticize all right, but that criticism is based upon a belief that economics is important and that it has an important contribution to make to the public policy debate. I wouldn't waste my time criticizing economics and the economics profession unless I believed them important.

The Positive and Negative Themes

The essays have two themes: a positive one and a negative one. The positive theme of the essays is that economic analysis, if kept in perspective, is enormously powerful. It provides a way of uncovering the workings of real-world phenomena that fit the perceptions many people have. The negative theme is that economic analysis is not being kept in perspective by economists, and that loss of perspective means that much of what comes out under the name of economic research has little or no value for society. But even this negative theme has positive overtones in demonstrating the power of economic analysis.

What is happening in the economics profession becomes much more understandable when one looks at it from an economist's standpoint. Economists have often turned the laser edge of their . . .

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