Robert J. Samuelson’s article – “It’s time we tear up our economics textbooks and start over” – has a provocative title, but the concluding remark that “textbooks must be up to date” is reasonable.
Having read Gregory Mankiw’s (and other economists’) publications, I understand that laws and theories in textbooks must be accompanied by real-life examples and data-driven analyses of situations that are significant in the study of economics. These allow students to not just understand the basic concepts, but also their applications in solving problems, such as in the field of public policy.
In the lightning-paced world we live in, technological advancements take place faster than the speed of updating textbook editions. Or as we saw in recent years, geopolitical relations and terms of trade deals are negotiated and re-negotiated, alongside flurries of tweets and Facebook posts, before scholarly publications can catch up with the changes.
Conveying information to students through textbooks in a way that is timely and meaningful for worldly application is more important than ever before, yet more difficult. But we should not “tear up” the textbooks, because the fundamentals of economics are solid, grounded in rational human behavior, and stood the test of time.
Robert Samuelson’s article https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/its-time-we-tear-up-our-economics-textbooks-and-start-over/2019/06/23/54794ab8-9432-11e9-b570-6416efdc0803_story.html?utm_term=.2541244fcbf4