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« Disappointments of financial globalization, continued | Main | Guarding the temple of comparative advantage »

July 11, 2007

Comments

ivan

Strange. I always thought it was the other way around: that the followers of the free market orthodoxy were the real believers. Market fundamentalists and so on.

robertdfeinman

Actually this debate illustrates the changing intellectual landscape. The original article appeared in "The Nation", but the debate happened online. One of the reasons for this was the original author was invited to participate in a forum on TPMcafe.

Before the web the debate would have been restricted to a few letters to the editor and some water cooler discussions.

It has now gone full circle and been picked up again by the print media. Where this will all lead is an interesting thing to contemplate.

Certainly the more interactivity the better.

notsneaky

"Overstate it a bit"??? It's total bunkum.

Per Kurowski

I liked that part of the NYT article where Rodrik is quoted having realized that “on any issue, there are barbarians on both sides,” In my country, Venezuela, I belong to the radical middle and I write in green but most of my readers can only read me either in yellow or in blue.

But back to the issue at hand, whether free-marketers or controllers, the worst is when neither of them can see the things for what they are not. A Carlos Slim being able to exploit communications in Mexico so as to become the richest man in a few years is quite frequently presented as an expression of the free market…Ha! And to call most of our blasé regulators real controllers is usually close to an insult to intelligence. When society assigns intellectual property rights and invests fortunes enforcing their defense only to see those rights exploited in a frequently abusive way what do we have… free markets or control…or just plain old anarchy. If that’s the case then the world’s foremost free traders are probably… the smugglers!

And then we have the free flow of capitals…but someone decides they have to obey the rulings of some very few credit rating agencies. What do you call that? (Personally I believe this part is a result of some central planners finding themselves unemployed in Soviet and moving down to Basel in order to regulate a bit so as to not lose the habit.)

You tell me! Personally I don’t think it has anything to do with orthodoxy, heresy or heterodoxy but more with plain old blindness or mental laziness. Not many years ago I lived totally removed from these debates, in blissful ignorance you might say, but after arriving to Washington a couple of years ago what has most astonished me is how little thinking the think-tanks really do… and this gets me really nervous since there is so much to do in a World that gets more compromised by the minute.

Tim Worstall

I do think journalists should try and catch up a little. From what I can see 90 % of economics has for decades been "Yes, markets work, but here's an instance when they don't".

Sanjay

An interesting comment from Marginal Revolution:

Alex Tabarrok

"It beggars belief when economists at Princeton, Harvard and Berkeley claim that they are lone voices in the wilderness boldly striking heterodox positions against the hegemony of "free market economics."

David Card, for example, says “You lose your ticket as a certified economist if you don’t say any kind of price regulation is bad and free trade is good.” Really? Card and Krueger's famous paper on the minimum wage was a 1993 NBER working paper published in the AER in 1994. What happened then in 1995? Was Card decertified, drummed out of the profession, vilified by his peers? Hardly, in 1995 David Card was honored (deservedly imho) by the American Economic Association with the John Bates Clark medal."

David Wiczer

Sanjay's David Card example is doubly a positive sign for the discipline:
Even though his work with Krueger was somewhat "heterodox" he was awarded the (or second) highest honor in the field, and respected by his colleagues.
It's an even better sign, however, that he still wants to be seen (and see himself) as an outsider, an under-dog and an force for change. It's a sign of dynamism that economics not only embraces new thought, but that everyone wants to be the new blood.

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