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Is economics dangerous for democracy?


  • Jacques SAPIR



The very place of political values in economic thinking is becoming again an important topic. Since Myrdal's seminal book it has been more or less forgotten by mainstream practitioners. Still the increasingly common reference to institutions and rules in mainstream or neo-mainstream publications points to the opening of a new round of an old debate. If mainstream economists are by now ready to use words like "democracy", "social capital" and are even ready to investigate possible relations between religious believes and economic growth, they don't seem ready to break with the anti-political tradition which has been part of economic thought since the XVIIIth century. The very attempt to build economics as a sister science to Physics is more than probably strengthening and anti-democracy bias in economic thinking. But for a decisive break with this tradition, not only will economics be grounded on false and unsafe methodological base for analytical and normative works, but their prescriptive dimension could be utterly dangerous.

Suggested Citation

  • Jacques SAPIR, 2004. "Is economics dangerous for democracy?," Cahiers d’économie politique / Papers in Political Economy, L'Harmattan, issue 47, pages 111-126.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpo:journl:y:2004:i:47:p:111-126

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    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • P26 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Political Economy


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