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The Dismal Science

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To the editors:

I knew I liked Ann Markusen from watching her struggle with the fuddy-duddys on the economics discussions John Calloway schedules every so often on Chicago Tonight. I didn't know just how much I liked her till I read her page-one article, "City on the Skids" (Reader, 11/24/89).

Economics has been viewed as "the dismal science," I suspect, because its practitioners usually expend gallons of ink, amphitheaters full of hot air and, more recently, megabytes of computer memory to assure us that, no matter what awful things have happened, they are the result of the operation of natural and inexorable economic principles, about which we puny mortals can do nothing.

To this orthodoxy, economists like Markusen cry, "Bullfeathers." As her article makes clear, Chicago's current economic quandary was caused by public policy decisions by government and business leaders, and can be improved by more sensible public policy decisions by the same sort of people (perhaps encouraged by pressure from citizens who truly want this city and its metro area to prosper into the 21st century). Go get 'em, Ann--we need you!

Mary A. Carroll

W. Willow

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