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Economics has been termed the "dismal science". The term is attributed to the English commentator, Thomas Carlyle, who in 1849, agrued that "economics is not a gay science. It is a dreary, desolate and indeed quite a distressing one, what we might call...the dismal science". In recent times, political science came to rival ecomnomics in that characterization. What began as a discipline which sought to determine what institutiional arrangements best conduced towards good government, over the years focused more on factors which led to the decline and collapse of the state. This was particularly so in the decades following the decline of empire and the achievement of independence in the post colonial world.
Copyright Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies