The Crisis of Vision in Modern Economic Thought

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Overview

A deep and widespread crisis affects modern economic theory, a crisis that derives from the absence of a "vision" - a set of widely shared political and social preconceptions - on which all economics ultimately depends. This absence, in turn, reflects the collapse of the Keynesian view that provided such a foundation from 1940 through the early 1970s, comparable to earlier visions provided by Smith, Ricardo, Mill, and Marshall. The "unraveling" of Keynesianism has been followed by a division of discordant and ineffective camps whose common denominator seems to be their shared analytical refinement and lack of practical applicability. Heilbroner and Milberg's analysis attempts both to describe this state of affairs and to suggest the direction in which economic thinking must move if it is to regain the relevance and remedial power it now pointedly lacks.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The Crisis of Vision in Modern Economic Thought is essential reading if one wants to understand the dynamics of why economists have moved from one system of theoretical constructs to another. Everyone, even the central participants in these movements, will learn something of interest and be forced to rethink why different theories emerge in different historical contexts." Lester C. Thurow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"...disarmingly challenging....For those interested in the momentous shifts in intellectual argument about economics over the past two decades, The Crisis of Vision in Modern Economic Thought, offers a powerfully insightful tour d'horizon of the battlefield." Richard Parker, The New York Times Book Review

"Lucid, thoughtful writing in the best tradition of Heilbroner." Robert Kuttner, Editor, The American Prospect

"A thoughtful and provocative evaluation of the literature by two of the most sincere and best informed critics of mainstream macrotheory. One must never make the mistake of disregarding Professor Heilbroner's illuminating discussions of the shortcomings of current economics." William J. Baumol, New York University

"Heilbroner and Milberg argue with passion that the degeneration of economics must be stopped and reversed. As they explain with great eloquence, it is not simply a question of enriching the existing theory with more empirical data. The problem is a crisis of vision, affecting the core of economic theory. This book is highly recommended for all those concerned about economic problems and wishing to understand the workings of modern economies." Geoffrey Hodgson, University of Cambridge

"A must read for all who want to understand why economic analysis and economic policy have been so inept and impotent in recent decades. Heilbroner and Milberg provide a clarion call for professional economists and policy advisors to open their eyes and develop the necessary vision to understand the operation of a capitalist economy so they can produce policies that will guide us to a prosperous global economy in the 21st Century." Paul Davidson, University of Tennessee

"Heilbroner and Milberg's voices join a growing chorus of dissatisfaction with the direction taken by mainstream economic thinking. Their careful dissection of recent trends in post-Keynesian theory is a true work of economy: lucid, balanced, and succinct." Keith Tribe, Keele University

"The vision thing-presented in typical Heilbroner fashion-insightful, well-written, interesting, and challenging. Heilbroner and Milberg reverse the order of politics and economics, making economics the handmaiden of politics, rather than politics the handmaiden of economics. And they may be right." David Colander, Middlebury College

"This book presents a well-informed and uncomfortably hard-hitting critique of contemporary economics. It deserves to be widely read and debated." Roger E. Backhouse, University of Birmingham

"This book is well worth reading for anyone who wishes to obtain an excellent and very insightful overview of the current state of a discipline that is in a very curious state indeed." Alex Viskovatoff, Review of Social History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521497145
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2004
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 5.43 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1 What Is at Stake 1
2 Classical Situations 9
3 The Keynesian Consensus 25
4 The Great Unraveling 48
5 The Inward Turn 68
6 The Nature of Society 97
7 The Crisis of Vision 118
Index 129
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