Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A new review of The Economics Anti-Textbook

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.