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Methodological Problems in Macroeconomics: Curriculum and Computers

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The financial crisis of 2008, and the subsequent worldwide economic depression and continuing dislocation, have made little to no impression on the way macroeconomics is taught at the university level, from Economics 101 through graduate school. It has been “business as usual’, which (it seems to me) means an almost studious avoidance of any attempt to acquire knowledge of how monetary economies actually work.

Robert Skidelsky (2009) was moved by this situation to suggest removing the responsibility for graduate instruction in macroeconomics from economics departments altogether, and locating them in some other academic unit such as history, philosophy, sociology, political science, or elsewhere. However, I don’t think that this solution would work, because if there are indeed serious issues with the way in which economics is taught in academia, the same is true of all the other disciplines. They all have their own biases and hangups, driven as much by academic politics as scholarly inquiry.