EDUCATION: Economists' Hall of Fame

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Science  25 Jan 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5555, pp. 591
DOI: 10.1126/science.295.5555.591c

Economics has come a long way since the 1600s, when some people consulted the Church for forecasts of business conditions. Anyone interested in the evolution of the discipline and the contributions of individual economists will find a wealth of information at the History of Economic Thought, a Web site created by two grad students at the New School for Social Research in New York City.

Aimed at students and the general public, the site features entries on more than 500 living and dead practitioners of the dismal science, as 19th century essayist Thomas Carlyle dubbed it. The list ranges from early free-market boosters such as Adam Smith and David Ricardo to modern thinkers such as game theory guru John Nash. Each account supplies a list of publications, many of them available online, along with links to essays, appraisals, biographical sites, and other informative pages. For instance, the entry for Thomas Malthus—whose contention that population growth inevitably outstrips food supply influenced Darwin and the environmental movement—provides a biographical sketch and links to his controversial “Essay on Population.” For a broader view of trends in economics, check out the section on schools of thought, which sorts through a host of competing worldviews, from Classical to Keynesian to Fabian Socialist.

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