Does The Past Have Useful Economics?

1210 words - 5 pages

The article written by Donald N. McCloskey has dramatically changed my attitude to the usefulness of knowledge from the field of economic history. The phrase from the article: “History is a stimulus to the economic imagination, defining and stretching the limits of economic craft...” took my thoughts away from everyday casual duties and made me to spend several hours thinking about it. I have reminded myself several historical events, the details of which I know from the course of economic history, I tried to apply micro and macro based theories to these events, interestingly, history supports economic ideas...or, should I state the other way round?
The article starts by mentioning well-known Adam Smith, Marx, Marshall, Keynes, Schumpeter and others, those economists based their theories and policies on stylised facts from economic history and were deeply historical in their studies. Unfortunately, nowadays thinking of majority contemporary economists is based only on micro-, macroeconomics, econometrics and statistics. The majority of contemporary economists form their studies only by observing resent events, trying to forecast the future only from analytical and mathematical bases. It was written that almost all contemporary economists undervalue the history of both high and low income countries, however these information can make a seminal contribution to explaining, understanding and predicting. Further this essay is going to state why past is important for economics.
Being frank, it is true that the majority of modern economists do not believe into the power of past economic history... this idea is supported by the author of the article who provides examples of contemporary economic schools of England, Germany and America, how people there pay attention to economic past. It was mentioned that unfortunately in the middle of the XX century, American schools lost their accent on the importance of economic history in the field of economics. The statement was supported by the example of American Economic Journals, like for example American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy and others. There was a high tendency for the declining number of economic history based articles printed in those journals for that period. The drift of economic history into special journals drove economists away from reading economic history data and even widened the gap. This is one of the reasons why average American economist nowadays would say that “Past has no use for economists nowadays”. The situation with English and German economists is quite the opposite. The author states that English system still makes great emphasis on the importance of economic history. The last page of the article mentions that in the style of German economical school history dominate the education of economists. After reading these several pages I started to think what is the situation in economic circles in my country? Unfortunately, our the experience of our country in the...

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