July 1, 2010

Maxine Udall: Rethinking Economics

Another great post over at Maxine Udall's site. There are some pretty good discussions around the blogosphere about the direction(s) of the discipline of economics...and part of this discussion revolves around methodology. This is something that I admittedly do not know much about; I really do not have a solid grasp of the actual methods of economists, although I am reasonably well-versed in their general theoretical tendencies.* Here's the ending of Udall's post:

"New eyes, untrained and unbiased by indoctrination into the hard core of economic theory and its accompanying heuristics and corollaries, may well be exactly what economics needs to become a true and more useful science."

Now go read the beginning and the middle.

*From what I have read, it seems pretty clear that economics and anthropology are quite opposed in many senses. These differences often revolve around ideas about human nature--is there such a thing as a universal human nature? Do certain economic principles apply in all times and all places? Or is human behavior highly contextual and historical? Do humans make "economic" decisions that have to be understood and analyzed within particular situations?

I have written about this subject a few times on some earlier posts. What I am not sure about is to what extent economics are even interested in what anthropologists are doing. Who knows? So yes, I tend to disagree with many ideas that I see presented by economists, but I also realize that not all economists think alike. While there are some pretty strong differences between anthropology and economics, I still think that there is something to be gained from a little conversation between the two.

No comments: