Dismal science

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  • This book is not simply an annotated roster of the Society of Dead Economists. As living economists grapple with modern economic problems and begin to alter their views, more and more readers are discovering a need for transitional books, books that bridge the gap between what economics has been and what it is becoming. A Brief History of Economics: Artful Approaches to the Dismal Science reflects this desire for a bridge over sometimes troubled waters.

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  • IN RECENT YEARS it has become impossible to talk about man's relation to nature without referring to "ecology." This peculiar field of study has been suddenly called on, in a manner unusual even in our scienceimpressed age, to playa central intellectual role. Such leading scientists in this area as Rachel Carson, Barry Commoner, Eugene Odum, Paul Ehrlich, and others, have become our new delphic voices, writing bestsellers, appearing in the media, shaping government policies, even serving as moral touchstones.

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  • Economics - to the great dismay of economists - is merely a branch of psychology. It deals with individual behaviour and with mass behaviour. Many of its practitioners sought to disguise its nature as a social science by applying complex mathematics where common sense and direct experimentation would have yielded far better results. The outcome has been an embarrassing divorce between economic theory and its subjects. The economic actor is assumed to be constantly engaged in the rational pursuit of self interest. This is not a realistic model - merely a useful approximation.

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