It is quite a long time now since the last great controversy over questions of theoretical economics. In Germany there was never a great deal of discussion in this area and even the occasional arguments (especially in book reviews) do not amount to anything. Any theoretical work that is going on does so for the most part behind a kind of curtain which hides it not just from public view but even from the rest of the academic community. And yet for all that there is still a widespread feeling that we have had more discussion of theoretical questions than is really healthy or useful. Those who are familiar with the social psychology of academic life will not be surprised by such a contradiction; they will be inclined to see in this reaction a paradoxical consequence of the rarity and perfectly comprehensible unpopularity of such debates. It means that the first words in any theoretical discussion, however modest — and the present work is modest indeed — always have to be words of justification, introduction or even apology. This is all the more so if an author wants (as I do) to avoid the suspicion that he overrates economic theory or the current practice of it and wishes to stress the fact that he himself is participating in the discussion of the theoretical questions of the day only reluctantly and out of a feeling of necessity.
KeywordsParadoxical Consequence Theoretical Question Academic Life Public View Preliminary Remark
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