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February 15, 2008



I which some political economist would write a book on how economic taboos are enforced in modern society. Unless we can say the name and the name can be heard taboos are being enforced.

I believe they are being enforced throughout society by those in power who want these names baned from television, buried in the back pages of newspapers and in the sparsely read books of some scholars. Even the Internet isn't much help. Taboo names get buried under the huge amount of me-to guided thinking.

The people on this blog know what factor-price equalization is. The man or woman on the street who have better things to do than read economic blogs never heard of it. Oh, she or he may be suffering its practical effects and gripping about having to compete with dollar a day workers, but that there is an economic concept for such an effect they know nothing of.

To say the name would give the concept standing. It would no longer be understood as the gripping of the disgruntled but the workings of an economic concept.

The powerful who benefit from free trade don't want what is seen as gripping to gain prestige. They don't want the concept talked about. The economic name must remain taboo so it is easier for them to maintain their power.

Donald N

Why is identifying the range of politically feasible alternatives beyond the purview of pure economics?


Politicians are unreliable because for them politics filled with petty interests comes before economics or welfare enhancing policies. All that matters to win an election are loyal supporters and populist agendas to draw votes from non-loyal ones (isn't this a shift of equilibria by deception?) So, the whole process, irrespective of Pareto optimal policies, is guided by interests rather than objective judgment. The theoritical realm and practical reality has a big wedge!

But, economic policy (apart from the overtheorietical models having no relvance, to which I am not a party to) studies analyze and prescribe policies that are as close to pareto optimality as possible. This goes public and ignorance is at the peril of politicians or policy makers. In fact, it relies less on erratic politicians (always in disequilibrium due to vested interest and greater-gain factors) and focuses on the policy makers and bureaucrats (who are not exactly politicians)! So, looking final impact-wise effect, economic policies based on ground realities have more effect than political economy policies.

So Dani, don't get swayed away! You are now in your true home, close to your heart!


Comparing social and economic conditions and structures in various developed countries one might found the importance of political economy in long-term reshaping of these structures. For example, take income inequality, availability of such social goods and services as education and medicine in Austria, France, the UK, the USA, etc. They are different to large extent. But economic results, as expressed as real GDP per capita is very close. So, political economist can and ougth to understand why the differences in many social and economic features do not produce the difference in real economic growth. This study is not from economics side, however, but from other social sciences.

More often we observe a different approach - study in favor of current state in given country. So to say, the research confirming superiority of given social and economic structure. In view of the differences between developed countries it is worthless. Those who continue just work in support of given economic policy with minor fluctuations.

Therefore, in both cases economists should not do any movements in the direction of political applications.


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Do political economists deal with how people's views change as they move through a particular institution? i.e. through a specific PhD process to the World Bank, up through the World Bank's ranks?

Michael Breen

So Dani, is this enough to convince you to come back to political economy?!

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I like these articles , democratic countries formulate policies are both team and the interests of the people of power, but the undemocratic countries rarely for the interests of the people, http://www.jerseysky.com it is the sorrow of many democracy, I like the western and northern state policy.

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