Robert Heilbroner

Robert Heilbroner is Norman Thomas Professor of Economics, Emeritus, at the New School for Social Research, in New York City. His main contribution to economic thought is in the critical methodology/philosophy of economics...he likes to look at "the big picture".

Heilbroner's view on the Doctrine of value-free economics (Wertfreiheit) are as follows:

Economists are not scientifically detached in assessing economic theories...Economists, like all social investigators, ...cannot help being emotionally involved with the society of which they are members: every social scientist approaches his task with a wish, consciously or unconsciously, to demonstrate the workability or unworkability of the social order he is investigating. In the face of this extreme vulnerability to value judgements, economists cannot be impartial or disinterested: thus, value judgements, partly of a sociological kind, partly with respect to bahaviour, have infused economics from its earliest statements to its latest and most sophisticated representations".

Heilbroner also believes that the study of economics, following the collapse of the Keynesian view, has reached a state of crisis that can never be overcome without the development of an all-encompassing vision. According to Heilbroner and Milber g in "The Crisis of Vision in Modern Economic Thought", "By vision we mean the political hopes and fears, social stereotypes, and value judgements--all unarticulated, as we have said--that infuse all social thought, not throught their illegal entry into an otherwise pristine realm, but as psychological, perhaps existential, necessities. Together vision and analysis form the basis of everything we believe we know, above all in that restricted but extremely important area of knowledge in which we s eek to understand, and where possible to change, the terms and conditions of our collective lives."

  • Works by Robert Heilbroner :
  • The Crisis of Vision in Modern Economic Thought: A Synopsis
  • The Worldly Philosophers
  • An Inquiry into the Human Prospect
  • Visions of the Future
  • Twenty-First Century Capitalism
  • Savings and Investment: Dynamic Aspects
  • Was Schumpeter Right After All?
  • Behind the Veil of Economics
  • Marxism: For and Against
  • The Nature of Economics
  • Economic Means and Social Ends
  • Economics as a "Value-Free" Science