Epilogue: In praise of economics

  • Donald MacDougall


It has been common in recent presidential addresses to bodies of this kind, as well as in numerous lectures and articles, for economists to criticise rather severely the present state of our subject, or at least to call in question some recent tendencies. This is by no means an unhealthy development. It is, I think, an indication that ours is a flourishing subject that can take such self-criticism in its stride (though I sometimes wonder whether such repeated pronouncements may not perhaps be a little discouraging to young men and women thinking of embarking on a career as an economist). I happen to agree with many of the criticisms that have been made; and if I had been giving this address a few years ago I might well have emphasised the failings and failures of our profession. But I think the time has come to redress the balance, and that it may be proper if on this occasion I do something to defend the profession, and for a change sing the praises of economists — and of our subject — even if I do so in rather muted tones, as befits a practitioner in a subject that has no need of self-advertisement.


Presidential Address Professional Economist General Price Level Personal Disposable Income Eurodollar Market 
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  1. 3.
    George P. Schulz, ‘Reflections on Political Economy’, Challenge, March/April 1974.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    See, for example, Professor Leontief’s Presidential Address to the American Economic Association on ‘Theoretical Assumptions and Non-observed Facts’, in The American Economic Review, March 1971.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    E. H. Phelps-Brown, ‘The Under-Development of Economics’, Economic Journal, March 1972.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    Presidential Address to Section F of the British Association, ‘Is progress in economic science possible?’, Economic Journal, March 1972.Google Scholar

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© Sir Donald MacDougall 1975

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  • Donald MacDougall

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