Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Samuelson's Foundations:
There Is a Reason Nobody Listed It

One of the books we all had to read/work our way through as graduate students in most major economics programmes in the 1960s was Paul Samuelson's Foundations of Economic Analysis. I note with some pleasure that none -- not one -- of the economists' book-tag responses that I have read mentions this book [Though I did see that Craig Newmark listed Samuelson's intro text].

There is a reason Samuelson's Foundations isn't listed. As I recently wrote to Walt, who asked me why so many modern grad schools emphasize math instead of economic logic,
I would say the bad aspects of the trend came with Samuelson's Foundations of Economic Analysis. Math was used in economics long before then, but his dissertation/book seemed to set the discipline off in a direction that was not very productive.
Math is good. Math has helped me. Math has helped others straighten me out. I was once a macho-math man. But math isn't worth much without a good appreciation of the Economic Way of Thinking.
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