Debunking Economics The Naked Emperor of the Social Sciences

Review From User :

"Thirty years ago I experienced a highly conventional education in Economics. I always had an immense difficulty in reconciling the irreconcible; the economics inside the lecture theatre and the seminar room with that in the outside world. Without the internet and books like Debunking Economics it would have taken extraordinary luck and perseverance to find the literature I needed to counteract the wrongheadedness of what I was being taught. I can even recall one of our lecturers saying that it was part of our role as Economics students to defend Neoclassical Economics.

What Professor Keen's book demonstrates is that these nuggets were out there at the time, but that the teaching of Economics conspired against these being discovered. Keen's description of Economics teaching today makes very familiar reading; things do not seem to have moved on that much at all. Indeed, just last week I checked out the Economics section for undergraduate textbooks and much of what was presented was eerily familiar.

So, despite the internet and the present economic crisis Economics undergraduates are likely to find themselves in the same predicament as my younger self. If that is the case, then my advice is quite simple: buy, read, re-read and absorb Debunking Economics. Counter the nonsense you are being taught at every level and tool yourself up for building a new academic subject.

Read this book and understand that Neoclassical Economics has never been able to successfully aggregate the behaviour of individuals, either as consumers or producers, to the level of a single market let alone a whole economy. Read and understand that markets have âemergent qualitiesâ, i.e. that they are greater than the sum of their parts. Read and understand that a market or an economy is in a constant state of dynamic equilibrium where decisions are made in conditions of uncertainty about the future values of important economic variables. Read and understand that this type of economy cannot be analysed using an equilibrium analysis.

Debunking Economics points the Economics student to the way to counteract Milton Friedman's "the realism of assumptions doesn't matter" dictum that can really cause problems for critical thinking; accept it and an effective critique of Neoclassical Economics becomes much more difficult.

The book also shares details of Professor Keen's own research programme in the area of Macroeconomics, with the promise that a further book, to be published in 2013, will develop the ideas.

This positive contribution to Economics is there to be taken seriously. The presentation here is quite accessible to the interested non-specialist reader - in fact this has been a central shaping of the book throughout. It is a launch pad, should the reader wish to take the journey, to a greater understanding of the world around us. "


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