From Political Economy to Economics: the Desocialisation and Dehistoricisation of the Dismal Science

From Political Economy to Economics: Method, the Social and the Historical in the Evolution of Economic Theory shows how economics was once rich and diverse, and unravels the processes that lead it to formalistic and monolithic neoclassical orthodoxy.
From Political Economy to EconomicsThis very interesting book by Dimitris Milonakis and Ben Fine (free access) details how political economy became economics through the desocialisation and the dehistoricisation of the “dismal science” (as economics was termed by  by the Victorian historian Thomas Carlyle), accompanied by the separation of economics from the other social sciences, especially economic history and sociology. This has resulted in an impoverished content within mainstream economics.
The book ranges over the shifting role of the historical and the social in economic theory, the shifting boundaries between the economic and the non-economic, all within a methodological context. Schools of thought and individuals, that have been neglected or marginalised, are treated in full, including classical political economy and Marx, the German and British historical schools, American institutionalism, Weber and Schumpeter and their programme of Socialökonomik, and the Austrian school. At the same time, developments within the mainstream tradition from marginalism through Marshall and Keynes to general equilibrium theory are also scrutinised, and the clashes between the various camps from the famous Methodenstreit to the fierce debates of the 1930s and beyond brought to the fore.
The prime rationale underpinning this account drawn from the past is to put the case for Political Economy back on the agenda. This enlightening research already greatly contributed to this important intellectual mission that we all should embrace and promote.

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