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Extremely thin - original material is poor
on 17 December 2014
I feel sorry writing a bad review of this work. I am a huge promoter of many of the component ideas. However compelling they are individually they do not hang together well here and the original material is poor.
The account of Kuhn's theories is very good. Cooper thinks that economics is in the throws of paradigm shift. There is definitely a crisis in economics but Coopers claim that this is recent and likely to be resolved soon is wrong. First Kuhn has been challenged and revised since the 1950s by others. There is no universal template for scientific revolutions. Standard economics *should* have been in crisis since the late 19th century when Poincare debunked the maths it is based on. It should have resolved the crisis in the 1990s with the birth of Econophysics and the Santa Fe institution and John Holland's work on Complex Adaptive Systems. It just hasn't happened. Scientific disputes do not automatically resolve on a schedule set by Kuhn.
The fact is economists are entranced by the sunk cost fallacy and the compulsion to use their old mathematical tools whether they are discredited or not. Like drunks they look for their keys not where they left them but where the street light is. They keep training up new generations of believers is their false religion.
Cooper's debunking of neo-classical economics is absurdly thin. He barely argues the case at all. I happen to agree with the conclusion but that is not relevant. A far far better work here is the Origin of Wealth by Beinhocker which argues the case over several hundred pages very readably.
The material about 'competition' is addressed far more convincingly by Adair Turner in Economics After the Crisis.