Essay Archives

Economics & the Public Sphere

May 5th, 2012

Economics and the Public Sphere: The Rise of Esoteric Knowledge, Refeudalization, Crisis and Renewal

Submitted by Erik S. Reinert, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia

After receiving the National Bank of Sweden’s 1973 ‘Nobel’ Prize in economics – shared with development economist Gunnar Myrdal – Friedrich von Hayek (1899-1992) held an unusual dinner speech where he quite explicitly criticized the prestigious prize he had just received: “…if I had been consulted whether to establish a Nobel Prize in economics, I [...]

November 4th, 2011

New Forms of Communication and the Public Mission of Economics: Overcoming the Great Disconnect

Submitted by Mark Thoma, University of Oregon

Economics has a long history of engagement on important public policy issues, and its early history was driven in large part by the desire to answer important public policy questions. However, ties between academic economists and the public, the press, policymakers, and economists in business and government have declined in recent decades.[1] This has reduced [...]

September 30th, 2011

Public Sociology as a Return to Political Economy


Submitted by Wolfgang Streeck, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne

A few years ago, at some international social science conference around the time when Michael Burawoy issued his call for “public sociology,” I was struck by the thought that never before in the history of mankind had there been so many people as today so well trained in analyzing and explaining social life.[1] Still, the [...]

March 31st, 2011

Why Are There Business Schools in Universities?

Submitted by Rakesh Khurana, Harvard University

In 2008, Harvard Business School celebrated its 100th birthday. Harvard’s year-long centennial culminated in a two-and–a-half-day global summit in which more than 2000 business leaders, alumni, academics and a select group of invited journalists from around the world gathered to discuss the School’s contributions to American business. Moreover, in recent years the school had broadened [...]

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