What’s Wrong with Contemporary Economics?

Paul P. Streeten


It is argued that in educating economists we should sacrifice
some of the more technical aspects of economics (which can be learned
later), in favour of the compulsory inclusion of (a) philosophy, (b)
political science and (c) economic history. Three reasons for
interdisciplinary studies are given. In the discussion of the place of
mathematics in economics fuzziness enters when the symbols a, b, c are
identified with individuals, firms, or farms. The identification of the
precise symbol with the often ambiguous and fuzzy reality, invites lack
of precision and blurs the concepts. If the social sciences, including
economics, are regarded as a “soft” technology compared with the “hard”
technology of the natural sciences, development studies have been
regarded as the soft underbelly of “economic science”. In development
economics the important question is: what are the springs of
development? We must confess that we cannot answer this question, that
we do not know what causes successful development.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.30541/v39i3pp.191-211


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