Mark Blaug: Rebel with Many Causes

Mark Blaug: Rebel with Many Causes

Edited by Marcel Boumans and Matthias Klaes

This collection of eminent contributions discusses the ideas and works of Mark Blaug, who has made important and often pioneering contributions to economic history, economic methodology, the economics of education, development economics, cultural economics, economic theory and the history of economic thought. Besides these assessments of Blaug’s influence and impact in these fields, this volume also contains a selection of personal portraits which depict him as a colleague, a friend and an opponent. Blaug was also a voracious reader and prolific writer, which is clearly evidenced by the comprehensive bibliography.

Chapter 3: Producing pearls of wisdom: a memoir of Mark Blaug's work practice

Ruth Towse

Subjects: economics and finance, cultural economics, economics of education, history of economic thought, methodology of economics

Extract

It was said of Joan Robinson that she produced her works as an oyster produces pearls – out of sheer irritation. Mark often quoted that and identified with it himself, especially in his later years. Another of Mark’s tenets that inspired my choice of title was that once you had settled on the title of an article you were home and dry as to writing it. I have to say, I agree with him (hence my own title!). Moreover, he favoured ‘jazzy’ titles (an adjective he frequently used echoing his New York adolescence), here are a few: ‘A case of emperor’s clothes: Perroux’ theories of economic domination’ Economics through the Looking Glass: The Distorted Perspective of Economics ‘Was there a marginal revolution?’ ‘The German hegemony of location theory: A puzzle in the history of economic thought’ ‘Economic methodology in one easy lesson’ ‘On a severe case of paranoia in the history of economic thought’ ‘Public enemy, no. 1: Unemployment not inflation’ ‘Does the Arts Council know what it is doing?’ ‘Say’s law of markets: What did it mean and why should we care?’ ‘Ugly currents in modern economics’ ‘Henry George: a rebel with a cause’ ‘No history of ideas, please, we’re economists’ . Francois Perroux (les poles de croissance) was the earliest of Mark’s irritants that I remember; Sraffians were the latest. In between he fought a running battle with Sam Hollander on Ricardo, Cambridge UK on capital switching and later on methodology (realism).

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