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Re: Left, Right; and Liberal Economists



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At 10:16 AM 03/23/2000 +0530, Prof. Roy wrote:

>Hence, if the academic economist does
>his/her job properly, then it might inevitably mean he/she finds himself in
>intellectual opposition to whomever is in power at a given time.   To put it
>differently, if the political power does something right, the academic
>economist need not praise it because there are plenty of other people around
>to do that instead;  on the other hand, if the political power does
>something wrong, then few other than the academic economist may be able to
>even recognise that it is wrong, and hence has a responsiblity for stating
>this publicly.

>Liberal economics has to do with being one the side of the individual,
>anonymous, consumer, farm-worker, industrial worker or small businessman....
>they tend to get the shaft from organised labour when the Left is in power
>and from organised capital when the Right is in power....

Dissenting in favour of the correct position is always the obligation of
the economist. Point accepted. But that does not require one's fluctuation
from one end of the spectrum to the other. It is merely relative to one's
position that the position appears to so move. This new rule of yours is
therefore not quite attractive, I think, even with these explanations.

I do not subscribe to relativism of any sort: I do believe that given
sufficient study of the fudamentals, we can prescribe a sufficiently cogent
and consistent position on political and economic issues. Liberty, for
example, can be studied intensively, and will almost always yield similar
conclusions. I was reading Mill's "On Liberty" these last few days, and was
very pleasantly surprised that its truth in  most cases exceeds the
understanding of liberty possessed by most of India's liberals today. Adam
Smith, Mill, Hayek, Friedman, and many others are so consistent on
fundamentals that one realizes that there is a steady progression in both
political and economic science which parallels the progression in the pure
sciences. Those who deviated from fundamentals, such as Marx and his gang,
at least in their prescriptions, have proved unsustaniable and are on the
way to oblivion. No relativism please.




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