Richard Parker

Richard Parker is the author of John Kenneth Galbraith: His Life, His Politics, His Economics. He teaches macroeconomic policy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and served as an advisor to the Papandreou government. 

Recent Articles

Can Economists Save Economics?

Economics is what economists do. --Jacob Viner T he trouble with Professor Viner's delicate evasion is that economists no longer agree about what they do, or even whether it is all worth doing. Critics outside the profession long faulted economists for a host of sins: their deductive method, their formalism, their over-reliance on arcane algebra, their imperviousness to complex evidence, the bald inconsistency of different facets of the economic paradigm. What's new--after decades of steadfast resistance--is that these same concerns have begun to bother the profession too. As mainstream economics over the past two decades has splintered into openly warring camps, the profession has found it ever harder to sustain its long-held claim to be "queen of the social sciences." That claim is based on economists' insistence on speaking, especially since World War II, in the seemingly precise idiom of mathematics. George Stigler, a leader of the Chicago School, once rather nastily claimed that...