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39. Research in the History of Economic Thought as a Vehicle for the Defense and Criticism of Orthodox Economics

John Lodewijks

Subject Economics » History of Thought

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631225737.2003.00044.x


It is almost impossible to attend a gathering of North American historians of economic thought without getting the uncomfortable feeling that many are there to grieve over the corpse. Many come to lament a time when economics was different, when it was better, and when it had not been perverted by formalism and higher mathematics. Many grieve for John Maynard Keynes and Commons, for Friedrich Hayek and Mitchell and Ludwig von Mises. Bradley W. Bateman (in Morgan and Rutherford, 1998 , p. 29) It is a striking fact that conferences in history of economic thought attract Austrians, Marxists, Radical political economists, Sraffians, institutionalists and post-Keynesians in disproportionate numbers, all non-neoclassicals or even anti-neoclassicals who have no place else to go to talk to scholars outside their narrow intellectual circles. Mark Blaug (2001 , p. 147) Many students throughout the world were introduced to the history of economics through Robert Heilbroner's immensely popular The Worldly Philosophers , originally published in 1953 and now in its seventh edition, with over four million copies sold to date. Geoffrey Harcourt (2001 , p. 167) claims that it is the best introduction to the lives and contributions of the great economists ever written. The chapters on Marx and Veblen are delightfully entertaining and beautifully crafted. But is it a “balanced” history of economics? ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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