Jul. 12, 2007

And Here I Thought This Was Obvious.....

Economists question dominance of free-market ideas - International Herald Tribune
Economists question dominance of free-market ideas

 By Patricia Cohen Published:
July 11, 2007

For many economists, questioning free-market orthodoxy is akin to expressing a belief in intelligent design at a Darwin convention: Those who doubt the naturally beneficial workings of the market are considered either deluded or crazy. But in recent months, economists have engaged in an impassioned debate over the way their specialty is taught in universities around the United States, and practiced in Washington.

They are questioning the profession's most cherished ideas about not interfering in the economy. "There is much too much ideology," said Alan Blinder, a professor at Princeton and a former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. Economics, he added, is "often a triumph of theory over fact."

 Blinder helped kindle the discussion by publicly warning in speeches and articles this year that as many as 30 million to 40 million Americans could lose their jobs to lower-paid workers abroad. Just by raising doubts about the unmitigated benefits of free trade, he made headlines and had colleagues rubbing their eyes in astonishment.


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