The New World of Economics: A Review Article

Officer, Lawrence and Leanna Stiefel
Journal of Economic Issues, X (1):149-158. Reprinted in Warren J. Samuels, ed., The Chicago School of Political Economy, Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, 1993: 459-468.

In this article, the authors present their comments on the book "The New World of Economics," by Richard B. McKenzie and Gordon Tullock. McKenzie and Tullock differ from the other authors in three respects. First, they abandon any reference at all to traditional economic topics. Second, they write in an extremely forceful and provocative style, advocating economic concepts and principles above those of all other disciplines. Third, they adopt a single focal point virtually throughout the volume, namely, individual maximization of utility through the equating of marginal utility or benefit and marginal cost. The book is excellent in its gradual introduction of concepts, usually only one or two in each chapter, and in cleverly discussing them in the context of a particular problem. Unfortunately, the explanation of the basic tools of economics in the first chapter is not adequate for most students with no economics background. The equality of the ratio of marginal utility to price across goods and services is particularly inadequate in its development, given the difficulty many students have with the principle.

Wagner Faculty