Blog articles from the Infrastructure section of The Big Idea

Infrastructure

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Green Economic Democracy: in place of “isms”

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A (fairly long) shopping list of what seem to be promising ideas.

It’s a huge mistake to treat economists as gurus

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Economists are wont to cluster in think tanks and pop up on television to explain not only what is wrong with the economy but what is wrong with the world in general. In other words, because they are good at what they do and are wont to dazzle us with jargon and acronyms and mathematical … Read more

Algorithms, ideologies, and principles

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The belief that economics can be a science has led many an economist to search for the economic equivalent of E=Mc2 or the elusive Grand Unified Theory; a search for huge if not quite all-embracing truths that can be expressed as mathematical algorithms or, more simply, as slogans. Examples include Karl Marx’s “the workers must … Read more

Economics is not and cannot be a science – and science is not the royal road to truth

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As the Cambridge economist Joan Robinson (1903-1983) put the matter in 1962 in Economic Philosophy:  “All along [economics] has been striving to escape from sentiment and to win for itself the status of a science … [but] … lacking the experimental method, economists are not strictly enough compelled to reduce metaphysical concepts to falsifiable terms … Read more

The brief ascendency of Kwasi and Liz

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A cautionary tale for all humankind for all time. Truly, Kwasi and Liz are the stuff of legend. If they had lived deep in antiquity they would still be remembered in fables and folk-tales, not as role models but as a warning to us all. For besides trashing the British economy in a few brief … Read more

Governments must be on our side: the absolute importance of democracy

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Given that in practice we probably do need governments we need, first, to ask what we want those governments to do; secondly, to ensure that we install the kinds of governments we think we need; and, thirdly – and at least equally important – ensure that we can get rid of governments that fail to … Read more

Do we need governments at all?

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Tolstoy no less in his essay “On Anarchy” in 1900 asked whether we need government at all and concluded that on the whole we would be better off without – provided we, people at large, take responsibility for our own actions and behave as moral beings:  “The Anarchists are right in everything; in the negation … Read more