Economics is the study of a complex system in which simple laws are not always forthcoming. That complexity mandates three branches of the profession: positive, normative and the art of economics. The economics profession has focused on one of these - positive economics, and in doing so has lost the art of economics. In a series of provocative essays the author argues that most of what economists do is applied policy, which belongs in the art of economics, not in normative or positive economics.
The essays explore the forces in academic institutions that have led economics to its current position, as well as the implications of the lost art for the economics profession and its future. In the end, the author is positive about the future of the profession, and predicts that in 2050 it will no longer be as Solow suggested it currently is - 'the overeducated in pursuit of the unknowable'. Instead it will be the 'appropriately educated in search of the knowable'.
The essays are written in a highly accessible style, and can be enjoyed by most non-economists, as well as by those economists who don't take themselves too seriously. It can be usefully read by all economists, even those who do take themselves too seriously.