23 January 2009

Political Economic Experimentation (again)

"Men have got used to an experimental method in physical and technical matters. They are still afraid of it in human concerns. The fear is the more efficacious because like all deep-lying fears it is covered up and disguised by all kinds of rationalizations. One of the commonest forms is a truly religious idealization of, and reverence for, established institutions . . ." ~ John Dewey (1927).
I have posted on the theme of political economic experimentation several times before [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]. Today The Guardian carried this Op-Ed by economist Dani Rodrik in which he endorses political economic "experimentation á la FDR."* After surveying trends in the U.S., Europe and China, he concludes:
"Policymakers need to shed received wisdom and forget useless dichotomies such as "markets versus government" or "nation-state versus globalisation". They need to come to grips with the reality that national regulations and international markets are inextricably linked with – and in need of – each other. The more pragmatically and creatively they act, the more quickly the world economy will recover."
Just so. The risk, of course, is that the policy-makers will be overly bound by religious conviction instead.
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* This is a version of a syndicated essay that has appeared in numerous papers around the world.

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