Ah! My mistake, I thought you were making a philosophical claim and not a light-hearted jest. I’m afraid my sense of humor is lacking.Originally Posted by Lah
And yes, I am a philosophy student, excellent powers of deduction. +
I am particularly interested in the ties between philosophy and economics. Economics has taken, to me, an equally odd turn as science and psychology. Economics is now practiced solely as a science or mathematical problem. However, it was first conceived of as a world view and produced by philosophers until recent times. I was fortunate to take a history of economic thought course which highlighted the problems of believing economics to be solely a mathematical problem to be answered.Originally Posted by Lah
Economics is perhaps the ultimate practical application of philosophy. It makes moral claims – how should we distribute wealth, how one should earn wealth, who is deserving of maintaining wealth, what is value, and so forth. It makes epistemological claims – how do we know how to value something, how do we recognize a fair exchange, are humans capable of making such decisions? Economics even makes metaphysical claims – the world we inhabit acts according to a regular enough pattern that we can make and follow rules of action in the economic realm.
Therefore, my “Economist King” would not be a Keynes scribbling out graphs in the back room aimed at providing the most for the most people. Rather, it would be someone who understands where economic thought has come from, its multi-faceted approach to the world and how economics fundamentally affects the lives of people every day and in every way. That is why I would see this sort of leader as beneficial.
By “liberal economist” I assume you mean a classical liberal, a la Adam Smith. I think it is interesting that you would find this type of economic leader acceptable and yet you do not promote laissez-faire capitalism. The problem with classical liberal economics is that it is a product of its time – the Enlightenment. The heady days of the belief in a mechanistic, rational universe put into motion by a deistic God. The product is an economic theory which, like a clock, requires a clean, well-engineered framework that cannot be easily fiddled with.
My pet theory, personally, is that the evil that has come to be called “capitalism” (i.e., America’s current economic framework) is not capitalism at all – but a mutilated form of socialist free markets which wants to have its cake and eat it too. A true capitalist system cannot support institutions such as the federal reserve, subsidy farming, social security or even extensive government regulation because they all try to limit the freedom of the autonomous system men like Smith designed. For Smith, the rational, mechanistic methods of capitalism would inevitably bring good to all levels of society through the ‘invisible hand,’ but trying to do so through artificial means would only result in disaster.
I am not saying that capitalism is a perfect system, or that there are no better ways of crafting the world through economic theory, however, I think the popular notion that America’s “capitalism” is bad and that regulation is good deserve a second, and cautious look.
At the risk of being stodgy, I am going to assume that this is another joke?Originally Posted by Lah