The crisis in economics: what can it tell us about social science?

Hammersley, Martyn (2014). The crisis in economics: what can it tell us about social science? Contemporary Social Science: Journal of the Academy of Social Sciences, 9(3) pp. 338–344.



The discipline of economics is currently facing a severe crisis, in the wake of the financial collapse of 2008. But there have been growing criticisms of the discipline, from within as well as from outside, for over two decades. In this paper the lessons that can be learned from this crisis by other social sciences are examined. It is argued that the main source of the problem is not so much the character of the discipline itself as the public role that it has been assigned, and taken on, purporting to offer a comprehensive practical perspective that serves as a basis for policy-making, and for practical decision-making more generally. Many social scientists crave a similar role for their own discipline, or for a broader interdisciplinary social science. In this article, I argue that this represents a failure to learn the lesson that the crisis in economics teaches.

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