Arnold Kling  

Reviving Political Economy

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From my latest essay:

The mainstream approach treated economic behavior and political behavior completely differently. We viewed economic phenomena, such as a price change, as determined by an entire system. We took political decisions as arising from personal whim. We viewed market behavior as determined by contextual factors, notably tastes, technology, and competition. We treated political behavior as an independent causal force. In statistical jargon, we viewed economic phenomena as endogenous and political phenomena as exogenous. In describing markets, we used the term "equilibrium" to suggest that there is an inevitability to economic patterns. In politics, we acted as if any day policymakers could change directions at will.

I suggest instead that we need theories of political behavior, such as "public choice" theory.

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CATEGORIES: Public Choice Theory

COMMENTS (1 to date)
Bill Stepp writes:

Constitutional provisions are not barriers to government misconduct. At best, they can be speed bumps.

Far from being even a speed bump to government action, the Constitution is actually a facilitator, as a perusal of the Commerce Clause (Art. 1, sect. 8) shows.
That part is just a to do list for the government.
Why those provisions for state action were allowed by the so-called Founders is a mystery (except that those functions were done by the British government). It gives the lie to historians who claim they were pro-free market.

Government in commerce? No thanks.

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