• The Economist's Oath

  • The Economist's Oath
    The Economist's Oath
  • Economics is today among the most influential of all professions.  Economists alter the course of economic affairs and deeply affect the lives of current and future generations. Yet, virtually alone among the major professions, economics lacks a body of professional ethics to guide its practitioners. Over the past century the profession consistently has refused to adopt or even explore professional economic ethics. As a consequence, economists are largely unprepared for the ethical challenges they face in their work.

    The Economist’s Oath challenges the economic orthodoxy. It builds the case for professional economic ethics step by step—first by rebutting economists’ arguments against and then by building an escalating positive case for professional economic ethics. The book surveys what economists do and demonstrates that their work is ethically fraught. It explores the principles, questions, and debates that inform professional ethics in other fields, and identifies the lessons that economics can take from the best established bodies of professional ethics. The book investigates the reforms in economic education that would be necessary to recognize professional ethical obligations, and concludes with the Economist’s Oath, drawing on the book’s central insights and highlighting the virtues that are required of the “ethical economist.”

    The Economist’s Oath seeks to initiate a serious conversation among economists about the ethical content of their work. It examines the ethical entailments of the immense influence over the lives of others that the economics profession now enjoys, and proposes a framework for the new field of professional economic ethics.

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  • Endorsements

  • "Can anyone doubt that economists need a good dousing in ethics?  George DeMartino does just that.  He does so, not in anger, but with the calm and persuasive tone of an author who knows his subjects and gives full airing to those who may disagree.  He has written a book on ethics that is itself ethical.  It is a valuable and novel contribution to a profession that keeps repeating its errors.  How do we make them listen?"

                            -Jeff Madrick, author of The Case for Big Government

  • "DeMartino has broken with the economist's oath never to discuss oaths.  It's about time.  Economists are taught in graduate school that about ethics one should not dispute, which gives them a warrant to ignore ethics in their science.  The teaching is philosophically naive and politically silly.  A science of the economy, and certainly an economist advising the prince, depends on ethical commitments, such as the elementary one to seek the truth, or to do no harm, or to support democracy, or to help the poor.  DeMartino has courageously opened the conversation, with a masterful command of economics and of English style."

                         -Deirdre McCloskey, author of Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce and The Cult of Statistical Significance

  • "In The Economist's Oath, George DeMartino reminds us that what economists do matters deeply-economic policies and interventions affect the rights, opportunities and life chances of people everywhere. This book should provoke careful consideration by economists, human rights advocates and others of what it means to be an 'ethical economist.'"

                    -Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, founder and President of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative

  • "In The Economist's Oath George DeMartino presents the elements of professional ethics, notably principles of prudence and autonomy well-known to doctors and engineers, and he demonstrates their neglected relevance to economists. Careful, respectful and  without rancor or rush-to-judgment, this beautifully-argued book is a warning about economics today and a challenge to economists to come."

                       -James K. Galbraith, The University of Texas at Austin and author of The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too

  • Reviews of The Economist's Oath

  • Review of Political Economy, January 2013, Book Review by Robert F. Garnett
  • Journal of Economic Literature, Sept. 2011, Book Review by Sharon Oster
  • Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics, Autumn 2011, Book Review by Julian Wells
  • CHOICE, American Library Association, July 2011, Book Review by A.R. Sanderson

  • International Review of Applied Economics, Jan. 2015, by Sheila Dow


This portfolio last updated: 28-Mar-2016 2:57 PM