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Russian Skepticism of Economics

As an academic discipline, it’s not just history that is under scrutiny from the state, but also conventional economic theory.  This comes from the always bright Konstantin Sonin in the Moscow Times:

This doesn’t make sense logically. After all, if a patient does not recover from an illness, does that mean the chemistry and biology courses the doctor studied as a student were of no value? If we hear that a building somewhere has collapsed, does it mean the laws of physics have ceased to operate? No, we simply assume that the builders were negligent, that they pocketed part of the money intended for construction or that officials took bribes to overlook safety violations. And even if the properties of some building materials were described incorrectly in the textbook, a few minor corrections to the text would eliminate the problem. Nobody would suggest rewriting physics textbooks from scratch. The same is true of economic science: It provides a solid basis for analyzing crises, and nothing has happened to warrant changing basic economics textbooks in any way.

It is no coincidence that the sharp rise in skepticism toward economics as a science is largely confined to Russia. It is Russia’s misfortune that the economics discipline is in such a sorry state. Economic science in the West has evolved for the past 200 years. It has traveled down the same path of development that other sciences have taken, formulating logically consistent theories and hypotheses.