What’s wrong with Economics

By Robert Skidelsky. An updated review —

paul martin
2 min readFeb 14, 2022

First I wrote on Amazon:

Obviously there’s lots wrong with Economics

(Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 8 May 2021)

I bought this, for my daughter to help her in fintech philosophy, & because the top back page review was from a Professor at Durham Uni, my alma mater.

As other reviews say Economics is toast, but still we have people governed by it. I have quickly scanned it and more pictures would have helped

Another wrote (better)

My major issue is that the author seems to want to “politicize” economics in a way that favors his implied policy preferences (most of which I share). From page 30: “The only defensible purpose of economics is to help abolish poverty….Beyond that it has no obvious purpose, and should leave the stage to others.” Economics is about the satisfaction of the material wants of individuals and society; helping to alleviate poverty is a subset of that. Furthermore, its been said that the most pervasive problem of economic life is that of value, which of course has numerous implications. With regard to “positive” vs. “normative” economics, I can’t conceive how economics, even if more broadly conceived, can tell us whether we need a little more “efficiency” (production) or a little more “equity” (distribution). Our values must come from political philosophy or ethical philosophy, and not from economics. Economics cannot use a social welfare function because utilities across people are not comparable and so the efficiency vs. equity trade-off (or the inflation vs. unemployment trade-off) is not answerable within the realm of economics. We can broaden, and integrate economics (a bit) into the other social sciences, but our social values come, primarily, from outside the technical assumptions of economics.

So having read the above I decided not to edit mine …