Ronald Coase – at 101 still making more sense than his neoclassical colleagues

18 Dec, 2012 at 10:37 | Posted in Economics | 4 Comments

coaseIn the 20th century, economics consolidated as a profession; economists could afford to write exclusively for one another. At the same time, the field experienced a paradigm shift, gradually identifying itself as a theoretical approach of economization and giving up the real-world economy as its subject matter.

But because it is no longer firmly grounded in systematic empirical investigation of the working of the economy, it is hardly up to the task … Today, a modern market economy with its ever-finer division of labor depends on a constantly expanding network of trade. It requires an intricate web of social institutions to coordinate the working of markets and firms across various boundaries. At a time when the modern economy is becoming increasingly institutions-intensive, the reduction of economics to price theory is troubling enough. It is suicidal for the field to slide into a hard science of choice, ignoring the influences of society, history, culture, and politics on the working of the economy.

Ronald Coase, Saving Economics from the Economists


  1. Finally! I said that some weeks ago. “Wonder what Coase has to say about it all?”

    And yes, I totally agree that this man is both interesting and still relevant. This applies even if I don’t really like his theories due to that they are somewhat part of the current development of bits and things.

    Anyone who knows about something more he has written lately?

  2. He recently did EconTalk, I found it a very interesting listen, particularly his thoughts on “Blackboard economics”

  3. Coase is interesting. He tried to square the anomalies of neo-classical economics and then realized it was a waste of time. He is launching a new Journal – Humans and Economics.

    • To be 101 and so vital that he can write an article of that calibre. Awesome!

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