Are economic movements dead? - (29.07.02)

We've had Keynesian economics, monetarism, Marxist economics and too many other schools of economic thought to mention over the years. Unusually at the moment, there does not appear to be a dominant force driving the economic policy debate.

In fact, the growing force appears to be almost anti-economics, outlining the illogical assumptions and counter-intuitive behaviours required by all economic policies based on one economic theory alone. (see the post-autistic economics site at

However, assumptions are important in economic policy. In a vast sea of information it is the role of economists to make assumptions that neither distort the inputs into a model or distort the analysis of the results.

The generality of these assumptions needs to be highlighted when economic decisions are made, even exploring the sensitivity of results to a range of inputs can assist in this. The risk is that without an easily described economic approach that the press and policy makers can begin to understand, an economic approach to decision making may become a thing of the past.

Most economic schools begin life with one leading proponent. What the new economists who reject arbitraty assumptions need now is a charismatic figurehead to put their name to the development of these ideas.