The development of economic thought is not unlike the development of technological knowledge: paradigms can be discerned over time and across the field. Indeed, in its history economics has experienced paradigm shifts. There is no reason why it will not do so again in the future. In technology, as in economics, paradigms do not emerge from the blue, but build on precursors, possibly from fields other than our own discipline. Recognizing this draws our attention to other fields, preparing us for a possible paradigm shift. Understanding these other paradigms might best be done using historian Wight’s concepts of plot structure, myths, and cultural endowment. A better understanding of different paradigms allows us to combine ideas from other (sub-) fields with our own so that we are likely to come up with better ideas. In the meantime, as the parallel with the composition of music and the playing of chess shows, we compose better articles in the meantime because we are aware of the rules guiding our own compositions, yet. The history of our own field may be the first and best source for such inspiration.

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ERIM Report Series Research in Management
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Welch, P., & Dolfsma, W. (2004). How To Be Better Prepared For A Paradigm Shift In Economic Theory, And Write Better Articles In The Meantime (No. ERS-2004-101-ORG). ERIM Report Series Research in Management. Retrieved from