Michael Hirsh recently ("Our Best Minds Are Failing Us", Newsweek, September 16, 2010) lamented how unwilling mainstream economists are to change their thinking in light of the events of the last few years. Brian Milner, a columnist for The Globe and Mail has added to the chorus of complaints.
Perhaps an opportunity now exists for a new introductory textbook in economics that differs fairly comprehensively from mainstream textbooks. Never mind Colander’s approach of modifying his textbooks at most 15% from the previous editions so that mainstream economists will not reject it. Maybe some enterprising heterdox economist should write an uncompromising introduction to economics that is also up-to-date on current events. Years ago, I listed some textbooks. More textbooks have become available since then, for example, G. C. Harcourt’s The Structure of Post-Keynesian Economics: The Core Contributions of the Pioneers. I am not sure that Luigi L. Pasinetti’s Keynes and the Cambridge Keynesians: A ‘Revolution in Economics’ to be Accomplished counts as a textbook. I’m sure I’m leaving much out.
But I’m not sure the packaging on most of these is what I’d like to see tried. The textbook I have in mind should be fairly thick, have various boxed asides, and have problem sets after every chapter. (The problem sets could include essays questions and have less numerical examples than is common.)
6 months ago