[OPE] The Economics of Crisis and the Crisis of Economics

From: michael perelman <michael@ecst.csuchico.edu>
Date: Wed May 20 2009 - 12:35:44 EDT

   The Economics of Crisis and the Crisis of Economics

The reputation of economics rises and falls with the business cycle. In
the late 19th century, when capitalism faced what was then called the
Great Depression, the world held economists in very low regard. For
example, Walter Bagehot, longtime editor of London's The Economist, wrote:

     Political Economy is not altogether satisfactory. It lies rather
dead in the public mind. Not only does it not excite, the same interest
as formerly, but there is not exactly the same confidence in it.
Younger men either do not study it, or do not feel that it comes home to
them, and that it matches with their most living ideas. New sciences
have come up in the last few years with new modes of investigation, and
they want to know what is the relation of economic science, as their
fathers held it, to these new thoughts and these new instruments. They
ask, often hardly knowing it, will this 'science' as it claims to be,
harmonise with what, we now know to be sciences, or bear to be tried as
we now try. [Bagehot 1885, p. 4]


Michael Perelman
Economics Department
California State University
Chico, CA
530 898 5321
fax 530 898 5901
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Received on Wed May 20 12:40:18 2009

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