Saturday, June 12, 2021

Is Economics a Liberal Art?

Alexander William Salter at National Review.

"If a liberal worldview is the product of a liberal education, then showing economics belongs with the humane disciplines, for the same reasons that these disciplines are essential for a liberal education, also shows economics is an indispensable component of such a worldview. This is an intriguing possibility. But it comes with serious difficulties. It requires demonstrating not only that economics belongs with humane studies but that it is a humane study.

"This requires nothing less than bringing economics to bear on classic texts in liberal-arts curricula. Few have tried it; fewer have succeeded. One important attempt was David Levy’s book* chapter on rational choice in the Homeric epics. Levy’s perspective is important, because it uses the workhorse model of economics not as a standard for judging imaginative literature, but as a tool for understanding it. This is precisely the move teachers and scholars must make for economics to claim a spot at the humanists’ table."
*The economic ideas of ordinary people: From preferences to trade, by David M. Levy, 1992, 2012

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