Chapter 6: Some contentious issues in theory and policy in memory of Mark Blaug
Mark Blaug’s book The Methodology of Economics was one of the most important books on the nature of economic reasoning written in the twentieth century. One of its major themes is that if a theory is to be applicable to the world in which we live, it must make statements – predictions – that are at least potentially refutable. In the process, Mark presented cogent critiques of the formalism and methodological permissiveness that increasingly dominate modern economics, two developments that he argued are closely related. In the book’s second edition (1992) he reviewed many of the debates that were set off by the first edition, refuting, for example, the arguments that falsification of a theory is impossible; that we can have meaningful explanations of economic events without any testable predictions being implied; that the bad practices of some economists imply that it is useless to have good norms; and that because induction is logically impossible there can be no creative leap to new theories based on close observation – a process that he called ‘adduction’. I would make this book compulsory reading for every economics graduate student and undergraduate major. In this chapter, following in Mark’s footsteps, I discuss a number of issues that arise from my survey of some key aspects of modern economics, many of which were also addressed by Mark. Some relate to methodology, some to theory and some to policy. In this necessarily brief survey, I cannot give an exhaustive discussion of any of these issues.
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.