Skip to main content


Showing posts from September 24, 2017

There is no free trade. But there is a free lunch.

Along the lines of "let no crisis go to waste", the neo-libs are attacking the Jones act, which protects American shipping, as the enemy no. one that has sunk Puerto Rico. Lefties who are "anti-trade" are of course assistants to the undertakers of Puerto Rico.  This discovery has the additional hedonistic weight that it makes neo-libs the champions of people of color, and the lefties the opponents.  Now being one of those "anti-trade" lefties, I have to ask myself what I think about the Jones act, of which I was not aware until a week ago. And my response is: the Jones act is suspended in emergencies. And the whole basis of the "anti-trade" lefty opinion is that economic policy should respond to place and circumstances instead of to economic "laws" laid down in Econ 101 books. Ceteris paribus is the equivalent to: how things really are.  It is interesting that neo-libs have adopted "free trade" as their slogan, and regiona

What effect do economists have on the economy

A little Sunday reading from the Archives We can easily imagine DNA replicating itself without molecular biologists, and the planets revolving around the sun without astronomers. But can we imagine capitalism without economists? On the one hand, we are always identifying proto-forms of capitalism without contemporaries making a formal theory of it. On the other hand, would the kind of capitalism we know, that which appears in the 17th and 18th century in Europe and America, have developed as it did without the appearance, at the same time, of the political economists? And as political economists developed their discourse – as economics began to regard itself as a science – was capitalism merely a parallel development, one that they studied, or was it a development in which they played a role? Marx, in the Grundrisse, working in the shadow of the disputes in Germany about theory and ‘materialism’, wrote: daß die einfachre Kategorie herrschende Verhältnisse eines unentwickeltern