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There is a controversy in Germany and at an international level on whether economics, as represented in the top journals, is moving away from political economy towards abstract reasoning. Defenders of the mainstream argue that with inevitably increasing specialization, research must combine theoretical and empirical methods to solve problems of applied economics that are politically relevant. Such an approach misses what was meant by political economy since its inception; the problem is to reconstruct the concept so as to understand the changes and the economic crises of society in the process of globalization. What political economy really means is a deep problem in the history of economic thought.