Last night it was my privilege to give the annual Pro Bono Economics lecture. I’d be delighted to hear people’s comments on it. (It would be even more pleasing if you’d look at the website and consider making a donation to their work.)
Many people in the audience have been enthusiastic, but one macroeconomist has taken great offence at my criticism of macro. I daresay I was too provocative – Dave Ramsden of the Treasury, chairing the evening, diplomatically described it as ‘challenging’ – but it does simply amaze me that so many (but not all) macroeconomists don’t think anything much needs to change in their area. Anyway, views welcome.
In the chat afterwards, somebody recommended to me Rational Economic Man by Martin Hollis and Edward Nell. The blurb says:
“Economics is probably the most subtle, precise and powerful of the social sciences and its theories have deep philosophical import. Yet the dominant alliance between economics and philosophy has long been cheerfully simple. This is the textbook alliance of neo-Classicism and Positivism, so crucial to the defence of orthodox economics against by now familiar objections. This is an unusual book and a deliberately controversial one. The authors cast doubt on assumptions which neo-Classicists often find too obvious to defend or, indeed, to mention. They set out to disturb an influential consensus and to champion an unpopular cause. Although they go deeper into both philosophy and economics than is usual in interdisciplinary works, they start from first principles and the text is provokingly clear. This will be a stimulating book for all economic theorists and philosophers interested in the philosophy of science and social science.”
Rational Economic Man
I’d like it to have been a bit more specific about the authors’ doubts, but it sounds intriguing.
Richard Davies of The Economist (@RD_Economist on Twitter) has recommended Three Methods of Ethics by Marcia Baron et al.
Three Methods of Ethics: A Debate (Great Debates in Philosophy)
I can see I’m going to have to improve my philosophy to continue in the vein of the Pro Bono lecture.
UPDATE: Paul Kelleher (@kelleher_) recommends Philosophy of Economics by Julian Reiss
Philosophy of Economics: A Contemporary Introduction (Routledge Contemporary Introductions to Philosophy)