James K. Galbraith in Project Syndicate:
Self-regarding economics departments at prestigious academic institutions no longer bother to teach the history of economic thought – a field that I studied at Yale University in 1977, forever compromising my academic career. Why was the topic abandoned – and even shunned and mocked? Students with a skeptical turn of mind would not be wrong to suspect that it was for scandalous reasons (as when, in past centuries, inconvenient aunts were locked away in garrets).
The four books reviewed here each uncover parts of the scandal. Three are brand new, and the other, The Corruption of Economics, first appeared in 1994 and was re-issued in 2006. Its principal author, the American economist Mason Gaffney, kept his remarkable pen flowing until passing away last summer at the age of 96.
Robert Skidelsky is a historian, an epic biographer of John Maynard Keynes, and a prolific debater in the United Kingdom’s House of Lords. He calls What’s Wrong with Economics? a “primer,” and it is indeed the most accessible of the four books. Skidelsky’s education in the history of economics resembles my own: a wide reading of the classical authors – Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Karl Marx, and others – followed by those associated with the “neoclassical” or “marginalist” revolution of the 1870s.