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.