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40 Critical Pointers for Students of Economics

from WEA eBooks

40 Critical Pointers for Students of Economics

Stuart Birks

Published 20 Oct 2015 by WEA eBooks

Economics courses have been trimmed back significantly in recent decades. Many of the reservations and qualifications that used to be presented in descriptions of theory have now been dropped, especially as the length and content of courses have been reduced. Consequently there has been a narrowing down of the discipline. The real world is ‘explained’ largely by means of models. These may give some explanation that is consistent with what is observed. However, models also give a framing of the issues such that the explanations are largely predetermined.

It is important to know the limitations of this approach. However, for many students these limitations are given scant attention. This book introduces 40 critical pointers for those who wish to see the theory in a broader, more realistic context. The material is suitable for introductory and intermediate courses and can be included selectively by students for additional reading or in lectures or tutorials as discussion points.        


Students of mainstream economics need a guide like this to help them understand the underlying assumptions, limitations and inbuilt biases of what they are studying. It helps them open their eyes to a broader view of how real economies work. It should also help economics teachers to ‘get real’.  Emeritus Professor Frank Stilwell, University of Sydney

Stuart Birks enters into the students’ comfort zone and takes them along pointing out the limitations of what is familiar and its inadequacies to deal seriously with policy issues. Once this approach is given an initial push, I am quite sure that its persuasive power will be widely recognized.   C T Kurien, past President of the Indian  Economic Association

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