Reading the excellent ‘EconoSpeak‘ (to my knowledge the best lefty economics blog out there, after Robert Vienneau), I come across this comment thread, discussing the flaws of undergraduate textbooks. Sandwichman (one of the blog’s authors) writes:
“My impression was that textbooks are corporate projects that are endorsed by a celebrity academic “author”. What fascinates me is not what is left out of the textbooks but “textbook lore” that is repeated in textbook after textbook but has no scholarly basis in the discipline itself.”
This is the kind of thing I worry about, as I try to teach myself economics from elementary textbooks. Presumably the textbooks’ mad claims sometimes don’t have much relation to the mad claims of economics proper – even after taking into account the supposedly ‘necessary’ (but often ideologically motivated) oversimplifications that characterise any beginners text. I’m not sure what to do about this – whether to keep on plugging at the simple stuff, or try to dive in to the real deal and endure months or years of total incomprehension. If anyone has any suggestions about the best way to approach things, they’d be appreciated.
[This post, I fear, inaugurates the ‘any passing thought’ era of the blog…]