Bachelor of Arts University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom, 1964. Doctor of Philosophy University Manchester, 1967.
Lector, Senior Lector Economics, University Manchester, 1967-1973, 1973-1976. Nuffield Foundation Fellow, Florence,
1. Professor of Economics, University Manchester, England, since 1976.
Association Editor, Cambridge Journal of Economics, Metroec. Book Review Editor, Manchester School of Economic and Social Studies.
My first response to any theory is ‘What precisely is it saying and assuming?’, and my second, not far behind, is ‘What is wrong with it?’. I find economic theory fascinating but share J. S. Mill’s respect for ‘negative logic’ — ‘that which points out weaknesses in theory.. without establishing positive truths’. I find it implausible that any economic theory should be more than partially true and am always surprised by the apparent confidence of many economists who firmly advocate the adoption or the abandonment of particular economic policies.
A respectful but sceptical view of economic theory is perhaps strengthened both by a concern with the history of thought. (I have studied Ricardo, Marx, Jevons and Wicksteed) and by the influence of Sraffa’s writings. Italian economists have been and are important to the development of my own work in various fields, including the history of thought, capital theory, pure trade theory and the theory of joint production.