How weIl placed is the economics profession to respond to such chaIlenges? Have we reason to believe that recent advances in the body of knowledge and technical change put the present generation in a better position than the last generation of economists? Inevitably opinion within the profession is divided. Attitudinal surveys certainly reveal a perception that economics has gained in prestige over the post-war period (Grubel and Boland 1986; Greenaway 1990); and there has been a tremendous expansion in the number of economics programmes in schools and higher education. Definitional problems make it rather more difficult to identify the actual stock of 'economists' at a given point in time. Recent debate in the United Kingdom has addressed the question of whether the present stock is in some sense optimal, with as yet no resolution (Sloane 1990; Towse and Blaug 1990). Although we do not have enough hard evidence to resolve the question, we can say with some confidence that the stock has grown significandy over the post-war period. (For an interesting insight into the growth in the government economic service in the United Kingdom, see Cairncross and Watts 1989). Growing numbers, together with

changes in technology, have facilitated specialization by subdiscipline. With that specialization have come profound changes in the way we as economists approach our subject.