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Life among the Econ: 50 years on

Thomas Palley

Keywords: Micro; Macro; economagicians; Keynesians; New Classicals; New Keynesians

Almost 50 years ago, the Swedish econographer Axel Leijonhufvud (1973) wrote a seminal study on the Econ tribe titled ‘Life among the Econ.’ This study revisits the Econ and reports on their current state. Life has gotten more complicated since those bygone days. The cult of math modl-ing has spread far and wide, so that even lay Econs practice it. Fifty years ago the Econ used to say ‘Modl-ing is everything.’ Now they say ‘Modl-ing is the only thing.’ The math priesthood has been joined by a priesthood of economagicians. The fundamental social divide between Micro and Macro sub-tribes persists, but it has been diluted by a new doctrine of micro foundations. The Econ remain a fractious and argumentative tribe.

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