08 June 2016

Richard Dawkins Speaks Up for The De-democratization of Economics

Richard Dawkins seemed to distil the tone of a lot of the pro-EU campaigners when he said of the UK referendum on European Union membership: It is much too difficult and detailed to be left to voters who know no economics.

Two points. First, given the descent into financialization and economic stagnation since the 1970s, leading up to an unpredicted Great Recession in 2008 that the world has barely recovered from, the disaster of the Euro, and the damaging failure of austerity and structural adjustment worldwide, it’s clear that economic matters are too difficult and detailed to be left to economists.

Second, the comment is underlain by the fantasy of neoliberal economics: that economics is a purely technical matter. But there are few things more political than economics. If it is not being decided by the demos, it is being botched for narrow short-term gain.

The de-democratization of economics, of which the Euro is one of the grandest experiments, has not been successful, as nicely explained in this interview with Servaas Storm: Behind Europe’s Populist Backlash: The Hunger Games of Mainstream Economics

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