Thanks for the thoughtful response on my book summary! Have you explored pluralism in economics more, or are you just starting to poke around?

Fullbrook is a professional critic of the neoclassical approach within academic economics and his main base of supporters is, I think, people who to do research that isn't in the old curriculum or what the old professors find interesting, eg feminist economics or environmental. his more recent work is specifically about textbooks and curriculum. I like that he is trying to address the "race blindness" of economics, and see this as a whole wave of repair that has to be done in basically every discipline. Same thing for gender, where it's easy to say "but our theory also works for women!" without grounding the theory in common experiences for women eg care relations, house work, patriarchy.

Did you watch my shoes link? It's a comedy video that I think illustrates very well how the white male dad inclined towards fiscal responsibility sees things one way and the other people don't make sense to him, but actually have a very compelling perspective of their own. When you think everyone else is being unreasonable, you very likely don't understand what they are doing at all.

I quite agree with you that economics, as deployed in practice, is just a form of engineering where the scientific theories have to work well enough to make somewhat better predictions and get somewhat better outcomes! The implication in this book is that the philosophical foundations of a theory have to be perfect for it to be of any use. I think a better standard is that the theory should be sufficiently detailed for the job and get some good results! There are many ways to do this and no reason to believe that current "laws" of economics will be considered valid in the future, just as I expect that the "laws" of physics we understand today will seem quaint and simplistic a century from now.

Capitalism wasn't really discussed in this book, and I find that those complaining about it tend to have little understanding of it at all.

If I were to join your side, I would also emphasize how much worse the real-world alternatives to neoclassical-informed economic policy are! Better than having some dickheads decide based on their guy in the pillow industry.

However, I think the book does a good job explaining the narrative fixation in economics and pointing out how other avenues of inquiry can appear wrong-headed when viewed from within the frame of neoclassical rationality.

Thanks for writing!


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