About the magazine

Formerly The Cambridge Economist, the magazine was renamed The Dismal Scientist in 2013 in an attempt to breach the confines of Cambridge and broaden the horizon for ideas – for “the ideas of economists… both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood… Indeed the world is ruled by little else” (J.M. Keynes, General Theory, 1936).

The Cambridge Economist had a long-running history and featured contributions from prominent economists such as David Card, John Kay, Gregory Mankiw and Alvin Roth in addition to contemporary Cambridge scholars. We hope to maintain this tradition in the magazine’s new form.

Why the name?

In the 19th century Thomas Carlyle, a Victorian historian, coined the derogatory term Dismal Science to describe Economics in response to Malthus’ prediction of famine and disease as “preventive checks” to population growth. Today, Dismal Science perhaps takes on a different meaning – not so much dismal in predictions, but dismal in its failure to predict. In the wake of yet another economic catastrophe, it is only appropriate that this name be used to remind us of the long way Economics still has to go.

Essay competition

The Dismal Scientist runs an annual essay competition for school students working towards A-levels, IB or equivalent qualifications. Click here for more details.