'No reality please. We're economists'. There is a wide spread belief that modern economics is irrelevant to the understanding of the real world. In a controversial and original study, Tony Lawson argues that the root of this irrelevance is in the failure of economists to find methods and tools which are appropriate for the social world it addresses.
Supporting his argument with a wide range of examples, Tony Lawson offers a provocative account of why economics has gone wrong and how it can be put back on track.
Social Theory is experiencing something of a revival within economics. Critical analyses of the particular nature of the subject matter of social studies and of the types of method, categories and modes of explanation that can legitimately be endorsed for the scientific study of social objects, are re-emerging. Economists are again addressing such issues as the relationship between agency and structure, between economy and the rest of society, and between the enquirer and the object of enquiry. There is a renewed interest in elaborating basic categories such as causation, competition, culture, discrimination, evolution, money, need, order, organization, power probability, process, rationality, technology, time, truth, uncertainty, value etc.
The objective for this series is to facilitate this revival further. In contemporary economics the label “theory” has been appropriated by a group that confines itself to largely asocial, ahistorical, mathematical “modelling”. Economics as Social Theory thus reclaims the “Theory” label, offering a platform for alternative rigorous, but broader and more critical conceptions of theorizing.