UPDATE: Apropos of my:
Walker does not offer adherence to laissez-faire as a requirement for being an economist: he explicitly rejects it...
David Kennedy writes:
so do I, and so does Paul Krugman, which is why I made the reference, by way of paying him the compliment of not adhering to the long-regnant orthodoxy of the Economics Guild. Walker wrote in a facetious vein, as did I, but I guess the joke was lost on a lot of people.
David Kennedy of Stanford opens his review of Paul Krugman's "Conscience of a Liberal" with a claim that AEA founding president Francis Amasa Walker defined an economist as a faithful believer in laissez-faire, “not... the test of economic orthodoxy, merely.... [But] used to decide whether a man were an economist at all.”
Why am I not surprised that Francis Amasa Walker actually said something very different?
Francis Walker did not say that belief in laissez-faire determined "whether a man were an economist at all." What Francis Walker said in "The Recent Progress of Political Economy in the United States" was: (a) the better part of economists had never imposed such a test, (b) the worse part of economists in the United States who posed as "guardians of the true [laissez-faire] faith" had lost their influence, and (c) the subject was much the better for it.
Here is what David Kennedy of Stanford wrote:
The Conscience of a Liberal - Paul Krugman - Books - Review - New York Times: [M]aybe [Paul] Krugman is not really an economist — at least not according to the definition offered more than a century ago by Francis Amasa Walker, the first president of the American Economic Association, who wrote that laissez-faire “was not... the test of economic orthodoxy, merely.... [But] used to decide whether a man were an economist at all.”
Here is the real context in which Kennedy's quote appears, in Francis Walker (1889), "The Recent Progress of Political Economy in the United States," Report of the Proceedings of the American Economic Association. Third Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, December 26-29, 1888, pp. 17-40:
Yet, while Laissez-Faire was asserted, in great breadth, in England, the writers for the reviews exaggerating the utterances of the professors in the universities, that doctrine was carefully qualified by some economists, and was by none held with such strictness as was given to it in the United States. Here it was not made the test ofeconomic orthodoxy, merely. It was used to decide whether a man were an economist at all. I don't think that I exaggerate when I say that, among those who deemed themselves the guardians of the true faith, it was considered far better that a man should know nothing about economic literature, and have no interest whatever in the subject, than that, with any amount of learning and any degree of holiest purpose, he should have adopted views varying from the standard that was set up....
The abandonment of Laissaz-Faire, as a principle of universal application, however strongly individuals may still maintain it as a general rule of conduct, at once makes communion and cooperation, not merely possible. but desirable among economists. When it is confessed that exceptions, not few or small, are to be admitted, every thinking man has a part to take in the discussion; every interested and intelligent person becomes a possible contributor; every class of men, whether divided from others by social or by industrial lines, have something to say on this subject, which no other class can say for them, and which no other class can afford not to hear from them. The characteristic institutions of every nation, the experiences of eyery distinct coinmunity not only become pertinent to the subject, but constitute a proper part of the evidence which is to be gathered, sifted and weighed....
That barrier removed, political economy becomes something which never is, but is always to be, done; growing with the growing knowledge of the race, changing, as man, its subject-matter, changes; something which, in the nature of the case, must be the work, not of one mind but of many; something to which every man in his place may contribute, to which all classes and races of men must contribute, if the full truth is to be discovered; something to which every clime and every age bring gifts all their own; something to which the history of institutions, the course of invention, the story of human experience are not pertinent only but essential.
In such a work who would not wish to join? In such a work who would not welcome every faithful and honest helper?...