yanngiraud's blog

Keynesianism, neoliberalism and the 'Dissemination' of Economic Ideas: That's the Way of the World.

It is often argued that in recent years the question of the 'dissemination' of economic knowledge has been increasingly addressed by historians of economics. However, as our buddy Tiago has noted on the previous version of this blog quite some time ago, historians seem to not really know what they're talking about when they talk about 'dissemination'. In fact, I would argue that most accounts of the history of science - and therefore, of economics - should deal with the question of dissemination, as science itself is "a form of communicative action" (Secord, 2004). Read more

A Quick One (Message to Naomi)

Naomi KleinYesterday, I had my first introductory economics seminar with my new students. At the end of this 4-hour marathon, which included the definition of economics and some preliminary knowledge on methodology, economic history and the history of the discipline, one of my students, who, I had noticed, stared at me quite incredulously during my speech, approached me and asked me in an aside: "Mr. Giraud, have you read the Shock Doctrine?". Read more

The Dynamics of the Chicago / MIT Dispute (in the Archives)

In his notorious "How Did Economists Get It So Wrong" NYT article in 2009, Paul Krugman relied on the freshwater/saltwater distinction to explain that the economists' inability to predict and solve the current economics crisis was due to the fact that MIT/Harvard economics lost their long dispute against their Chicagoan counterparts. Read more

Progress in Economics: A Comment

I thought I could use some of my illegitimate blog administrator's privileges to participate in the discussion on the "progress in economics" post by Floris without being lost in the midst of other users' comments. What strikes me both in the video interviews and in the related comments is how it lacks historical and sociological understanding. Of course, it strikes me because we are first and mostly a history of economics blog with a strong interest in the methodology of science studies but I do not think that this lack is solely annoying from an historian's or a sociologist's perspective. Rather, I think it is problematic on a much larger level.  Read more

Warren J. Samuels (1933-2011)

On this blog, we like to overstate quite a bit our irreverence towards the establishment and in particular our senior colleagues. Several posts have been written in which we have challenged the prevaling views and methodologies in HET and criticized the way young scholars are sometimes treated with some condescension by more established peers. Yet there is no denying that we are also the products of this establishment that we sometimes take to task. One instance of this relation is that most of the contributors of this blog - if not all of them - have received the Warren J. and Sylvia J. Samuels Young Scholars Award, which allowed us to participate in the HES meeting without having to pay for it - at a time where most of us were graduate or post-graduate students with only meagre stipends. Therefore, it is with great sadness that we have learnt of the death of Warren J. Samuels on August 17. Read more

Paul Samuelson, Women and the History of Economics (Part 2)

As part of the tremendous promotion campaign for the 8th edition of his textbook Economics, Samuelson was devoted a feature in the New York Times (February 5, 1970, p. 41). In the article, Samuelson was quoted for saying that “the girls at Sweet Briar” would not be able to treat some of the most difficult chapter-ending questions, while “honor students at Princeton” would. This remark did not go unnoticed. Many female Professors, mostly teachers in Women's colleges, wrote letters of protests. None of the latter failed to mention that they had used several of the first seven editions as former students or current instructors.  

The interesting question is not to know whether Samuelson was male-chauvinistic here. None of the complaining Professors thought it this way, indeed. However, there are many more interesting issues to be addressed. Read more

Paul Samuelson, Women and the History of Economics (Part 1)

Paul Samuelson was notorious for many things, but also, like Marshall, for spending most of his academic life in the same institution. However, there were at least three occasions when others tried to have him leave MIT. Tjalling Koopmans, in 1947, tried to convince him to join the Cowles Commission at Chicago and two years later, it was Ted Schultz who begged him to join Chicago's economics department. Of course, we all know Paul Samuelson rejected these offers and stayed in his home institution. The first time, he mentionned that his decision had been taken after discussing the matter carefully with his wife Marion. 

Similarly, in 1957, Samuelson was approached by Gregg Lewis who wanted to know whether MIT would be interested in hiring Gary Becker. According to Lewis, Becker's decision to leave Chicago was that his wife wanted to be closer to her family on the East Coast.  Read more