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Why We Have Newspapers, Call-in Shows, Reading Clubs, and Sometimes Hang around in Barbershops

Posted in Contemporary economics, US politics Tagged with: , , ,

It’s a commonplace that economics in the industrial democracies in the years after World War II took on many outward aspects of an engineering discipline. A “new welfare economics,” pioneered in Britain by A.C. Pigou, Nicholas Kaldor, John Hicks and others, led in the next generation in the US by Paul Samuelson, supported the privilege of economists to give advice as experts on a wide variety of topics.  Free trade might help some people and hurt others, for instance, but overall gains would be more than sufficient for the winners to compensate the losers.  Thus government engineering could increase welfare