Reintroducing Macroeconomics: A Critical Approach.

Author:Ho, Tsung-wu
Position:Book review

Reintroducing Macroeconomics: A Critical Approach by Steven Mark Cohn. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2006. Paperback: ISBN 978-0765614513, $35.95. 368 pages.

Unlike most economics books, Reintroducing Macroeconomics, is actually organized in a way that makes economics a subject of thinking, instead of solving mathematical models. This book is completely readable. I recommend this book both to advanced course professors, and to folks just beginning to look at economic issues, and for the same reasons: its clarity, balanced approach, and great organization, which combine to help all of us look at economic issues with an interested, fresh energy.

Formally, it can be designed to serve as an advanced material for macroeconomics, which contains eighteen chapters that can be classified into four parts according to their emphasis.

The first three chapters methodologically and philosophically introduce the arguments that are the bases of heterodox critiques, for instance, institutionalism, radical, Marxist, feminist, Post-Keynesian, socioeconomic, humanistic and ecological economy. This portion gives macroeconomics a philosophical basis. Cohn makes clear that just about everything in economics is designed to advance somebody's special agenda. Instead of claiming, as most economics books do, that economics is "value free," Cohn neatly illustrates just how value-laden classical economic approaches really are. His first chapter, Philosophical Debates in Economics, is excellent: it sets forth--in language people can actually understand--what these central debates in economics are, how they influence the way economic issues are presented and, most importantly, how these value orientations pre-select the kinds of solutions that get generated using classic tools.

Chapters 4 and 6 give a clear delineation contrasting heterodox critiques and neoclassical principle. Through these two chapters, readers can easily capture the points of their debates. We then return to Chapter 5, which bridges Chapters 4 and 6 by reintroducing supply and demand as the heterodox micro-foundation for Macroeconomics; this chapter, I think, provides critical knowledge for understanding heterodox macroeconomics.

Since the economy is supposedly doing so well, economists usually wonder why most families you know seem to be falling farther behind? One of the most important tasks of heterodox economic analysis is the problem of "measure," or "re-measure." Chapters 7 and 8 give the very...

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