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Economics Against Democracy

Author

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  • Manuel Couret Branco

    (Department of Economics, University of Évora)

Abstract

I believe that freedom of choice constitutes a pillar of rational choice in economic theory, regardless of the definition of rational choice one adopts. On the other hand, economics being socially embedded, free choice in economics seems senseless without political freedom of choice. Democracy, therefore, plays an important role in economic efficiency as much as in social fairness. Following this line of thought one should expect that economics, both in theory and in practice, should permanently strengthen the role of democracy in its institutional construction. Unfortunately it does not seem to be the case. Although historically many of the democratic achievements in the past two centuries have been intimately connected to the development of liberal economics, one can assert that mainstream liberal economics is intrinsically contradictory with the democratic ideal. The first stage of the demonstration of this thesis concerns the dismounting of the naturalization process that economics has undergone with the purpose of transforming economic decisions into plain technical issues supposedly free from democratic debate.The second stage concerns the ways in which the market has managed to legitimise its hegemony in society and the reasons why this contributes to the erosion of democracy. Within this hegemony five aspects will be dealt with; the imposition of a market jurisdiction; the deregulation of the economy; the process of political and economic unaccountability; the de-politicization of free choice and the conflict between the territorialization of democracy and the de-territorialization of economics.

Suggested Citation

  • Manuel Couret Branco, 2007. "Economics Against Democracy," Economics Working Papers 03_2007, University of Évora, Department of Economics (Portugal).
  • Handle: RePEc:evo:wpecon:03_2007
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10174/8450
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Maurice Obstfeld, 1998. "The Global Capital Market: Benefactor or Menace?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 9-30, Fall.
    2. Stanley L. Engerman & Kenneth Lee Sokoloff, 2002. "Factor Endowments, Inequality, and Paths of Development Among New World Economies," Economía Journal, The Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association - LACEA, vol. 0(Fall 2002), pages 41-110, August.
    3. Robert J. Barro, 1999. "Determinants of Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages 158-183, December.
    4. Daron Acemoglu, 2003. "The Form of Property Rights: Oligarchic vs. Democratic Societies," NBER Working Papers 10037, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Manuel Couret Branco, 2016. "Human Rights Based Approach to Land Reform," International Journal of Finance, Insurance and Risk Management, International Journal of Finance, Insurance and Risk Management, vol. 6(4), pages 1222-1222.
    2. Urban Sušnik, 2016. "Janus Ante Portas," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 48(3), pages 417-437, September.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Democracy; Market; Politics; Liberal Economics; Participation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A1 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics
    • B4 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology
    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods
    • H5 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • J8 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards
    • K0 - Law and Economics - - General

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