8/30/2019

The Power and Prestige of Economics -- Time for a Reboot in Thinking, Not a Replacement

""Neo-liberalism" is actually little more than an effort to bring neoclassical models of efficiency into the operation of governmental agencies -- that in another era was called "market socialism" -- just look at Abba Lerner's The Economics of Control. He actually thought he had found the right way to combine socialist aspirations with the teachings of economics so he could ensure microeconomic efficiency and macroeconomic stability and provide economists with the tools to successfully steer the economic ship. That basic idea from mid-20th century to today has never disappeared in those halls of power -- what has appeared is a waffling between liberal (in the American sense) Keynesianism, and conservative Keynesianism, but Keynesianism exists throughout. The Samuelsonian Neo-classical synthesis achieved the status he hoped for it ... and provides the meaning behind his statement in the teachers manual “I don’t care who writes a nation’s laws … if I can write its economics textbooks.” Samuelson knew that if he could wrest control of the tacit presuppositions of public policy functionaries, then there thoughts and actions would be guided by what he taught about market failure, macroeconomic instability, and government as a corrective to our economic woes. It's an amazing achievement what he did. For at least a generation, perhaps two, he controlled both the introduction to economics market, and the advanced training of PhD students in economics market."