Economics is the study of a complex system in which simple laws are not always forthcoming. That complexity mandates three branches of the profession: positive, normative and the art of economics. The economics profession has focused on one of these - positive economics, and in doing so has lost the art of economics. In a series of provocative essays the author argues that most of what economists do is applied policy, which belongs in the art of economics, not in normative or positive economics.
The essays explore the forces in academic institutions that have led economics to its current position, as well as the implications of the lost art for the economics profession and its future. In the end, the author is positive about the future of the profession, and predicts that in 2050 it will no longer be as Solow suggested it currently is - `the overeducated in pursuit of the unknowable'. Instead it will be the `appropriately educated in search of the knowable'.
The essays are written in a highly accessible style, and can be enjoyed by most non-economists, as well as by those economists who don't take themselves too seriously. It can be usefully read by all economists, even those who do take themselves too seriously.
David Colander, Christian A. Johnson Distinguished Professor of Economics, Middlebury College, Vermont, US
Contents: Preface Introduction Part I: How the Art of Economics was Lost 1. The Lost Art of Economics 2. Is Milton Friedman an Artist or a Scientist? Part II: Methodology of the Art of Economics 3. The Art of Economics by the Numbers 4. The Art of Monetary Policy Part III: Textbooks and the Art of Economics 5. Telling Better Stories in Introductory Macro 6. Teaching Keynes in the 21st Century Part IV: Doing Art in the Current Institutional Setting 7. Confessions of an Economic Gadfly 8. Surviving as a Slightly Out of Sync Economist Part V: Implications of the Lost Art of Economics for the Profession 9. Vision, Judgement, and Disagreement among Economics 10. The Sound of Silence: The Profession's Response to the COGEE Report Part VI: The Future of the Economic Profession 11. The Death of NeoClassical Economics 12. New Millennium Economics in 2050: How Did It Get This Way, and What Way is It? Bibliography Index