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The Rhetoric of Economics

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  125 ratings  ·  10 reviews
A classic in its field, this pathbreaking book humanized the scientific rhetoric of economics to reveal its literary soul. In this completely revised second edition, Deirdre N. McCloskey demonstrates how economic discourse employs metaphor, authority, symmetry, and other rhetorical means of persuasion. The Rhetoric of Economics shows economists to be human persuaders, poet ...more
Paperback, 248 pages
Published April 15th 1998 by University of Wisconsin Press
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Daniel Roberts
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
I once took a Macroeconomics methods course with a tenured faculty member from a top economics department. After one class, I came up to him and asked about whether he was concerned that one of the econometric techniques he taught [think matrix stacking] required a fair number of subjective judgments ex-ante which produced ambiguity when interpreting results. He broke into a somewhat sheepish grin and replied that Economics is after all simply a matter of Economists arguing over priors using too ...more
Santhoshi Srilaya
Aunt Deirdre had an excellent premise - treating economics like a text and doing a literary criticism of it. This is one of those books where you can't go back to seeing things as you did before. She completely destroys the idea of scientific nature of economics and shows how economists also use figurative metaphors and write stories like poets and novelists, or like 'the arts'. However, her aim isn't really to attack economics, as she kept mentioning several times. It is to reform.

Under the gu
Mar 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Прославленный экономист Дирдра Макклоски, написавшая к настоящему времени шестнадцать книг и более четырех сотен научных работ, возглавлявшая в прошлом американскую ассоциацию экономических историков, в книге "Риторика экономики" подтвердила то, что подозревали многие: экономика не Наука.

Наука, как ее принято понимать среди экономистов, да и обывателей, полагается на логику и факты. Однако экономисты, как и литераторы, пользуются в статьях метафорами и историями. Экономисты рисуются, в смысле с
Jing-li Yu
Jan 08, 2011 rated it liked it
Like many books, The Rhetoric of Economics would perhaps have been better if it were half the length. I understand the basic premise to be: regardless of whether there is objective truth, we need human persuasion to implement that understanding; the sooner economists recognize that there is a persuasive element in their science, rather than simply hammering out objective truth, the better they will be at persuading, and the better they will be at arriving at their truths. For instance, one espec ...more
Mar 12, 2020 rated it did not like it
Became clear early on that this was written by an incredibly conservative economist who thought the discipline was fine but that economists could use a bit of training on rhetoric. Disappointing. When she lauded Gary Becker for his discussion of "criminals" as "small business owners," it was obvious that none of this would actually fundamentally criticize economics for its use of mathematical jargon to construct a conservative worldview, which is at the top of the list of necessities when consid ...more
Sep 15, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is very intellectually difficult for me. I wish I had a seminar each week to work through one of the chapters with others reading the book and a professor with a deep understanding of the material. This book uses technical rhetorical analysis to understand technical economics papers and while everything I get out of it is interesting, I feel like I'm not getting it all.
Paul Custwr
Jun 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Deirdre is my mentor, so I'm biased... but anybody who applies the word "science" to themselves without a problematic really must read this book.
Sep 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well-written, provocative book on economic argumentation and the limits of Modernist-influenced thought in Economics.
Craig Bolton
The Rhetoric of Economics (Rhetoric of the Human Sciences) by Deirdre N. McCloskey (1998)
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Deirdre Nansen McCloskey has been distinguished professor of economics and history and professor of English and communications at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is the author of numerous books, including Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World.

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