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G. M.P. Swann

Never trust to general impressions, my boy, but concentrate yourself upon details. Sherlock Holmes

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G. M.P. Swann

From time to time, the medical profession has to deal with questions of pathology in their profession and their academic disciplines, but these are usually issues to do with individuals. In economics, by contrast, there are a significant number of non-mainstream academics who believe that there are some things wrong with the state of the mainstream discipline.

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G. M.P. Swann

As in the previous chapter, the rationale for the sort of complex hybrid described in this chapter lies in the various sources of discontent described in Chapter 8. The underlying principle is that there exists a series of discontents and objections to do with gaps in what mainstream economics can achieve, and the purpose of creating complex hybrids elsewhere in the economic federation is to plug these gaps, by putting together teams of economists and practitioners, who can together answer the questions that mainstream economics on its own cannot answer.

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G. M.P. Swann

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G. M.P. Swann

… the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. Niccolò Machiavelli

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G. M.P. Swann

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G. M.P. Swann

After the publication of the Arrow-Debreu model, economists were awestruck by the rigor and consistency of the reasoning. Finally, it was agreed, all the surplus flesh had been stripped off the skeleton of economic theory, and we now had new levels of analytic rigor to live up to if we were to be taken seriously as theorists. Alan Kirman

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G. M.P. Swann

Chapter 12 describes in broad outline the sort of radical strategy that is needed to provide a really strong foundation for empirical economics, so that it can hope to make a better job of meeting the challenges described in Part I. It involves emulating some – and I stress, only some – of the methods and approaches used in the academic discipline of medicine, and in the medical profession. I believe it offers a potential resolution of the apparent impasse – a way of addressing the criticisms of economics in Part I, while allowing the mainstream to carry on with confidence

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G. M.P. Swann

If nothing else, this episode lays bare the distance the economics profession needs to travel if it is to win heads, to say nothing of hearts. Andy Haldane

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G. M.P. Swann

I believe that the arguments in the preceding chapters make a strong case for a federation of semi autonomous sub-disciplines in economics. However, I have not yet addressed one essential and obvious question. Can I be sure that such a federation will survive?