Monday, June 10, 2019

Can a Harvard Economist Really Think Outside the Box?

Dani Rodrik
By Robert Wenzel

Dani Rodrik, Professor of International Political Economy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, is out with an essay at Project Syndicate, The Case for a Bold Economics.

He tells us that "rules that underpin globalization are badly in need of reform...These problems demand bold responses. Yet, for the most part, mainstream economists seem preoccupied with marginal fixes – a tax-code tweak here, a carbon tax there, perhaps a sprinkling of wage subsidies – that leave untouched the structures of power underwriting the rules of the economic game."

But can Rodrik really take a bold leap? He apparently thinks he can:

Economists can rise to the challenge by adopting a broader vision. Last month, I joined a group of prominent economists to launch an initiative that we have called “Economics for Inclusive Prosperity
But what exactly is bold about mouthing popular politically correct platitudes? He writes:
[T]he goal is to advance ambitious policy ideas that pay much closer attention to inequality and exclusion – and to the power imbalances that produce them.
How is this kind of perspective bold? In this day and age understanding, the nature of inequality is bold (See: What Socialists Don't Get About Capitalism and Inequality)  

Considering alternative structures of society is bold (See: Foundations of Private Property Society Theory: Anarchism for the Civilized Person).

And then he promotes “evidence-based policy.” What the hell is bold about empirical study in the field of economics? An attack on such thinking is bold (See: The Counter-Revolution of Science).

"Imagination is crucial," Rodrik tells us but his essay is as bold, imaginative and accurate as George  in the John Gedraitis painting "Sunday on the Pot With George"

Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of and Target Liberty. He also writes EPJ Daily Alert and is author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank and most recently Foundations of Private Property Society Theory: Anarchism for the Civilized Person Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics and on LinkedIn. His youtube series is here: Robert Wenzel Talks Economics. More about Wenzel here.

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