The Puzzle of Modern Economics: Science or Ideology?

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Cambridge University Press, Jun 21, 2010 - Political Science
Does economics hold the key to everything or does the recent financial crisis show that it has failed? This book provides an assessment of modern economics that cuts through the confusion and controversy on this question. Case studies of the creation of new markets, the Russian transition to capitalism, globalization, and money and finance establish that economics has been very successful where problems have been well defined and where the world can be changed to fit the theory, but that it has been less successful in tackling bigger problems. The book then offers a historical perspective on how economists have, since the Second World War, tried to make their subject scientific. It explores the evolving relationship between science and ideology and investigates the place of heterodoxy and dissent within the discipline.

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The Quest for Rigorous Macroeconomics
Science and Ideology
Heterodoxy and Dissent
Note on the Literature

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About the author (2010)

Roger E. Backhouse is Professor of the History and Philosophy of Economics at the University of Birmingham, where he has taught since 1980, and at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. In 2007 he was Ludwig Lachmann Research Fellow in the Department of Philosophy at the London School of Economics. In 1998–2000 he held a British Academy Research Readership. He has also taught at University College London, Keele University, the University of Bristol, the University of Buckingham, and the University of Oporto. Professor Backhouse is the co-editor of The History of the Social Sciences since 1945 (with Philippe Fontaine, Cambridge University Press, 2010), No Wealth But Life: Welfare Economics and the Welfare State in Britain 1880–1945 (with Tamotso Nishizawa, Cambridge University Press, 2010), and The Unsocial Social Science? Economics and Neighboring Disciplines Since 1945 (forthcoming). He also coedited The Cambridge Companion to Keynes (with Bradley W. Bateman, Cambridge University Press, 2006). Professor Backhouse is also author of The Ordinary Business of Life and The Penguin History of Economics. He has written for a number of journals, including Economica, Journal of Economic Perspectives, History of Political Economy, Journal of the History of Economic Thought, and Journal of Economic Methodology. He has been review editor of the Economic Journal, editor of the Journal of Economic Methodology, and associate editor of the Journal of the History of Economic Thought.