Aditya Chakraborttya, author of “Economics has failed us: but where are the fresh voices?” has posed a very interesting question: If economists failed to predict the great recession, why have social scientists kept quiet about the fallout? It does in fact seem logical that sociologists, anthropologists, and political scientists would be having a field day studying the consequences of an “unexpected” economic disaster. However, the author has done his research and found that out of over 2,500 members of Britain’s leading sociological journals, only 13 articles have any relation to the economy or finance. Do social scientists just not care about the economy? That seems unlikely. But why have they not spoken up about the aftermath of the recession?
This may once again get into our discussion about the status of economics as a science. Maybe economics is not considered a science even by social scientists. Is economics so low on the science totem pole that no scientific field is willing to consider it?
The author ends the article with this thought: “When an entire discipline does what the sociologists did at their conference last week and devotes as much time to discussing the holistic massage industry (“using a Foucauldian lens”) as to analysing financiers, they’re never going to challenge the dominance of mainstream economics. And it’s hard to believe they really want to.”
Since I have been thinking about the necessity of “mainstream” economics, this article made me think that maybe it is not up to economists to decide whether or not mainstream macro has failed. It might be that social scientists are the best ones to decide what policy is good for the people. If only they cared…