Even on its worst days, economics is a fascinating subject. Smart and clever people equipped with an outstanding set of tools striving to use those tools of reasoning not just for points in a game of one-upmanship, but seriously trying figure out slices of the world we live in. However, economics can get derailed.
I have tried to tell the narrative of 20th century economics in a variety of ways --- the metaphor of an hour glass (which is derivative from the story that David Warsh tells) is one of my favorites, but the transformation in the classical period of a discipline that sought to derive universal propositions through logical deductions in natural language and empirical observations to a highly formal discipline with the goal of still deriving universal propositions to the emergence in the 1990s of a highly technical discipline that abandoned the search for universal propositions and instead resulted in a form of "formalistic historicism".
In the mid- to late-1990s, empirical economics took over as the dominant mode of discourse in the discipline, and if theory could produce any result imaginable it would be sophisticated econometrics that would adjudicate between competing hypotheses. But, of course, empirical economics had its issues as well.
The Journal of Economic Perspectives has a symposium on credibility in empirical economics that is well worth looking at.
Personally, I am more attracted to theory rather than empirics, and as a result I am drawn more to Acemoglu's argument on the one hand, and Greif's argument that historical economics is more than cliometrics, on the other. In my review essay of the Bates et al book, Analytic Narratives, I argue that the efforts at "rational choice" political and economic history represent that way out of our difficulties as a discipline in avoiding the games that smart and clever people play and keeping us instead on the path of seriously achieving understanding of the social world. But I have to admit that this methodological revolution has been slower in coming around than I had hoped. Why do you think that is?