The Institute Blog

READING ROOM: Robert Johnson in Time Magazine about the Failures of the Economics Profession

"Not long ago, the principal theories of economics appeared to be the secular religion of society. Today, economics is a discipline in disrepute. It’s as if our ship of state broke from its stable mooring and unexpectedly slammed into the rocks. How could things have gone so spectacularly wrong? And what can be done to repair economics so economists can play a productive role in helping society?"

Economics needs to find a new way forward if it is to remain relevant to today's society. In an essay for Time Magazine, INET Executive Director Rob Johnson suggests remedies to get economics and society back on course. Economists must avoid the temptation of the quest for certainty and must avoid overstating what they know. They must recognize the limitations of mathematical modeling and the deductive approach. They must reintroduce context when considering economic problems, recognizing that contingent social relations aren't governed by absolutes. And they must recognize the inseparable nature of politics and economics. Only then can economists help society emerge from the storms of current financial and political crises.

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