Yes, it's official! Brian MacLean (of Laurentian University) and Tony Myatt (University of New Brunswick) have signed a contract with Zed Books for The Macroeconomics Anti-Textbook: A Critical Thinker's Guide. The manuscript for the book should be finished next summer. It seems very likely that Tony and I will also be revising and updating The Economics Anti-Textbook, which will appear in a new edition.
When he heard the news, Robert Lucas scratched his head and muttered:
"The Macroeconomics Anti-Textbook?! What would that be about?!"
A nice review of The Economics Anti-Textbook by economist Mary Manning Cleveland in The Huffington Post, and reprinted widely on the web, it seems. Her blog is well worth a look.
I confess that I'm disappointed, but not too surprised, that no economics journal has reviewed the Anti-Textbook. Self-reflection is not our strong suit, it seems.
I find it a bit strange that most academic economists spend so much time on the teaching side of things, but so little time reflecting on it and discussing what we are doing with each other. Yes, quite a lot of time is spent collectively reviewing and 'fact-checking' the content of the textbooks, but (from my experience) almost all of that is done within the parameters that define what the conventional mainstream book will consist of. As well, the discussion that takes place is largely between the editors of large textbook companies and individual academics, not between academics themselves. It's not unusual or surprising to see large general conferences of academic economists without a single session devoted to what we are doing in the classroom or to the content of the texts the companies are producing.
We (Rod Hill and Tony Myatt) are professors of economics at the University of New Brunswick and the authors of "The Economics Anti-Textbook: A Critical Thinker's Guide to Microeconomics" (Zed Books, London & New York; Fernwood Books, Halifax & Winnipeg, 2010). The 2011 Indian edition is published by Books for Change (Bangalore). A Chinese-language edition has been published by Shiwenbooks, Beijing. We'll use this blog as a place to post discussion with readers of our book. We'll also use it to write further about economics textbooks and their content, as well as about new books coming out that critique textbook economics.
Feel free to write to us at rodntony [AT] gmail.com.