Economics as a Science

  • Benjamin Ward


The easiest way to answer the title question to this book would seem to be to make a list. The list of things wrong with economics would contain all those problems, from poverty and inflation to alienation and frustration, that economics has plainly not yet solved. But though this approach is taken from time to time these days, it is hardly fair to the economics profession. One does not condemn physicists for not having solved the problem of generating a perpetual-motion machine, and it is by no means inconceivable that there are social and economic problems too that are unsolvable in principle. One does not even criticize physicists for being unable to agree among themselves on many questions of fact and theory, for this is taken as a sign that physics is a lively and active science whose practitioners are seeking the truth in difficult areas. One does sometimes criticize physicists for helping develop basic ideas of use to the designers of weaponry, but most critics become quite selective at this point; few would condemn all physicists throughout the world who have engaged in research of potential military value.


Status Ranking Neoclassical Economic Economic Thought Economic Profession Invisible College 
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  1. 1.
    Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962).Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Allan Cartter, An Assessment of Quality in Graduate Education (Washington, D.C.: American Council on Education, 1966). A more recent study by Cartter was recently released. See New York Times (Jan. 3, 1971): 1.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Basic Books, Inc. 1972

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  • Benjamin Ward

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