ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Faith, Heresy and Economic Theory

John Rapley’s recent book Twilight of the Money Gods: Economics as a Religion and How It All Went Wrong is a riveting tale of the development of economic thought. “This fundamental critique of economics,” writes Avinash Persaud in his review (“The Corruption of Economics,” EPW, 24 February 2018), “is a must-read for all.” I argue here that although this is indeed a very important book for our times, one cannot agree with the first part of Persaud’s assessment.

I base my assertion on the following counts: It traces developments in the core methods and beliefs of mainstream economic thought without the conceptual rigour such a project demands. (Our age requires that the problem of faith/belief be located at the conceptual level of value itself. “Faith in the prophets,” which forms Rapley’s central point of attack, must remain central to the progress of all science.) It shows rather convincingly that economic “truths,” like those of any other science, are historically conditioned. It creates the theoretical space for new heresies.

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Updated On : 23rd Jul, 2018
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