When I studied economics in the late Fifties economics was essentially an English discipline. It is no more! There are not many students now to study economics or do PhDs!
It is now more an American discipline. In India economics still has some glamour but things are changing very fast here too. Economics doesn’t give immmediate jobs!
In my time it was the British universities, more so the Cambridge University that dominated the discipline.All the bright brains were there. Keynes, his colleagues(list is long) were very around him. There were fierce arguments, about economic theories propounded by Keynes. Economic theory as such was undergoing change since the time of Adam Smith,the first propounder of economics,as a self-driven,wealth creating process. He of course took it from the French Physiocrats. Now in Keynes time it was all theory of equilibrium that explained the balance of economic forces. Prices, demand, supply, fiscal deficit, rate of employment, growth etc. Then Keynes introduced the famous line:”in the long-run we would all be dead”. So he
introduced short-term,practical, interventionist ecnomic theory. Amartya Sen is a descendent of this theory only, in spite his taking the theory forward. Sen would be remembered for his contribution to the construction of the Human Development Index. However, since Sen there have been new revolutionary theories of economics that had gone on to win Nobel Prizes. and thus new rcognitions.One is Paul Ormerod who won the Nobel Prize for economics in 1993.
His theory in brief is that it is economic history, (”Understanding the Process of Economic Change”is a new title of his book) rather than economic theory that can explain why some nations succeed and some fail. Why Western, American capitalism is successful and why Afric failed, Latin America couldn’t get going.The other economists who won the Nobel Prize, Joseph Stiglitz introduced some new elements. Economists assume man behaves rationally. Now, not many economists would believe in such statement. Man’s cognitive abilities are limited. The more recent Nobel Economics Laureates Vernon Smith and Daniel Kahne have used psychology and found out the conventional economics assumptions about human behaviour patterns are deeply flawed.
Thus, economics as an acdemic discipline today had undergone radical transformation.
Much more important to all economic theories is how they interpret modern day Capitalism.
Capitalism had now become what is called new economy Capitalism,China and India have used IT to create new wealth,new billionaires! America is deeply worried over this outsourcing technolgy trends that had led to job flights to low cost India and China.
SA new book,why so many new books, have such new titles as “The Flat World:the new history of the Twenty first century by Thomas Friedman, Three Billion New Capitalists: The Great Shift of Wealth and Power to the East are making news.
So,economics core concern today is why some countries succeed and create wealth and why some other countries in Africa and Latin America fail and end up in debts and poverty.