Graeme Donald 


Economics without Time. A Science Blind to the Forces of Historical Change


London: Macmillan, 1993
ISBN: 0333558537 (hbk)

Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1993
ISBN: 0472104950 (hbk)

xii, 327 p.

Extracts from reviews:

In Economics without Time, Graeme Snooks presents two related, but separable, examinations of problems in economic history. The first, over one-half the volume, entitled 'Time in economics', is the most recent statement in the now century-old debate between economic historians and economic theorists, broadened by Snooks to include some intra-disciplinary arguments with economic historians. The second, entitled symmetrically, 'Economics in time', extends his earlier work (with J. McDonald) on the Doomsday economy, tracing out growth patterns in the English economy between 1086 and 1990, a period, Snooks argues, with intervals of rapid growth in a wavelike pattern . . .
Whether the arguments and the analytics of the discussion of very long-term growth will help to convince economists to become more interested in adding history to their theory, and also to make economic historians become more willing to use theory, thus helping both to 'resolve the emerging crisis of a world population seemingly out of control on a planet with finite natural resources' (p. 277), remains uncertain. Snooks has, however, raised many interesting and important questions for economists, economic historians, and environmental scientists.

-- Stanley L. Engerman, Australian Economic History Review, vol. XXXIV, no. 1, March 1994, pp. 73-4.


This ambitious book could, but probably will not, be read with profit by all economists, regardless of specialization. It is (1) an attack on "the divorce between deductive theory and empirical reality" (p. 1), and (2) a demonstration of how economic history ("economics in time") can shed light on problems of long run economic development which, by implication, will continue to be problems in the future. It is not, however, an attack on economic theory as such . . . the book is important, and a reading of it will repay any conscientious economist.

-- Rondo Cameron, Journal of Economic Literature, vol. XXXIII, no. 2, June 1995, pp. 875-6.