Sickonomics: Diagnoses and Remedies
Ben Fine and Dimitris Milonakis claim to find the source of the decay in modern economics in the ‘marginal revolution’ of the 1870s. They argue that this development led to ‘methodological individualism’ and the detachment of economics from society and history. I contest their account of the marginal revolution and of the role of Alfred Marshall among others. They also fail to provide an adequate definition of methodological individualism. I suggest that neoclassical economics adopted a denuded concept of the social rather than removing these factors entirely. No such removal is possible in principle. It is also mistaken to depict neoclassical economics as the science of prices and the market. In truth, neoclassical economics fails to capture the true nature of markets. I sketch an alternative explanation of the sickness of modern economics, which focuses on institutional developments since the Second World War.