Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Dismal Science: The ideological straitjacket of economics and economic theory

"We need to develop a new way of conceiving the economic process. In calling for an end to economics, I am not suggesting that we should dismiss everything that economists have learned about the economy. Some economic insights are useful. Our goal should be to build up an understanding of the economy in a context that transcends the narrow context of economic theory that characterizes modern economic theory. In doing so, we may lay the groundwork for an economy that transcends our outmoded capitalist way of life." 
Michael Perelman Railroading Economics
Stephen Marglin calls it the "dismal science". Michael Perelman writes about the ideological straitjacket of modern economics. James Galbraith describes contemporary economics in terms of a god that failed, a governing creed whose fallacies have been exposed by events of recent years.  In his book Economia Australian Geoff Davies writes that we have all become so accustomed to the current economic regime that we fail to see how absurd it is. He is right.

I am currently reading the books pictured and all present a radical and sustained critique of contemporary economics. They challenge the idea that market and market forces are a solution to our social, environmental and economic problems.  

These books don't just expose discredited contemporary economic orthodoxies, they also document the destructive effects of those orthodoxies in the real world (rather than the theories of economists and business leaders). These authors more importantly set an  alternative and radical economic agenda for the future.

The books pictured include:
Stephen Margeli (2008) The Dismal Science
Michael Perelman (2006) Railroading Economics
James Galbraith (2008)  The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and why Liberals Should to
Geoff Davies (2004) Economia: New Economic systems to empower people and support the living world
James Gustav Speth (2008) The Bridge at the End of the World
Barry Lynn (2009) Cornered:The New Monopoly Capitalism and the Dynamics of Destruction

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