A Not-so-dismal Science: A Broader View of Economies and Societies

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Modern economics is like a metropolitan area. Economists' ideas about business and markets are like the magnificent buildings of the city centre. Yet most growth and prosperity is in the suburbs - lately many of economics' greatest successes have been outside the traditional boundaries of the discipline. In the study of law, economic ideas have been the intellectual focus and `law and economics' has become a major field. In the study of politics, economists and political scientists using economics-type methods are uniquely influential. In sociology and history, economics has had a smaller but growing influence through `rational choice sociology' and `cliometrics'. The influence of the economists type thinking in other social sciences is bringing about a theoretical integration of all the social sciences under one overarching paradigm. The chapters of the book illustrate the intellectual advances that account for this unified view of economies and societies.