Monthly Archives: May 2014

Educating economists on BBC Radio 3

How should we teach economics? That’s the question raised by economics students all over the world, who have signed up to a petition for pluralist economics, an economics  in touch with history, philosophy, and (God forbid) the rest of the social sciences. It seems pretty reasonable to me, although students would have to wake up to some tricky problems about the nature of economics science if they got what they wanted. On the other hand, you might say that scientists don’t need to know philosophy of science to be, say, biologists, and that’s true too. Perhaps if you want to study society, you should study sociology, and that’s more or less what Manchester University’s economics faculty said to its students. To me it seems that problem is just as much our expectations of economics, and the place in society that economics expects. Anyway, that’s enough for now; if you want to hear me and Professor Geoffrey Wood arguing the case on BBC Radio 3’s Freethinking, you can do so here.

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Reviewing Piketty

I wasn’t sure whether to be happy or not when tasked with reviewing ‘the big book that everyone’s talking about’, as Karen Shook, books editor of Times Higher Education put it. The Thomas Piketty review has turned into a flourishing genre of its own – phrases like magnum opus and a definite acquaintance with nineteenth century French literature are ‘de rigueur’. For a ten-step guide on how to do your own, see this brilliant piece in the Washington Post.

Still, at least it got me to read the book, and my review in THE is available here. I think I deserve a prize for spotting the Aristocats footnote too…

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