Economics can be pretty boring. Drier than Death Valley, the discipline is obsessed with mathematics and compounds this by arrogantly assuming its techniques can be brought to bear on the other social sciences.
It wasn't going to be long, therefore, before students started complaining. The vast majority have voted with their feet and signed up for business and management degrees, but in the past two years there has grown an important new movement that has decided to tackle those who think they run economics head-on. This is the Post-autistic Economics Network.
The PAE Network started in France and has spread first to Cambridge and then other parts of the world. The name derives from the fact that mainstream economics has been accused of institutional autism, ie. qualitative impairment of social interaction, failure to develop peer relationships and lack of emotional and social reciprocity. In short, economics has lost touch with reality and has become way too abstract.
This book charts the impact the PAE Network has had so far and constitutes a manifesto for a different kind of economics - it features key contributions from all the major voices in heterodox economics including Tony Lawson, Deirdre McCloskey, Geoff Hodgson, Sheila Dow and Warren Samuels.
'I see the book as an excellent tool to introduce undergradate and graduate students to a critical understanding of the current state of economics. This is why I have assigned the book on my graduate course in microeconomic theory.' - Frederic S. Lee, Journal of Economic Issues
"Every economics student and teacher as well as anyone interested in recent developments in intellectual and social trends should read The Crisis in Economics." Oeconomicus
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.