Globalisation And Comparative Economics: Of Efficiency, Efficient Institutions, And Late Development
Does globalisation entail a demand for uniformity, or diversity, of the (political) economic institutions of nation-states? What is the theoretical underpinning of the demand? And what are the implications of the demand for economic development? The conventional literature known as comparative economic systems has been unable to answer these question, because there is an intrinsic tension between its methodology (the neoclassical framework of individualistic rational choices and their equilibrium) and the subject matter (the multiplicity of economic institutions and development experiences in the real world). The new comparative economics has consisted of a variety of attempts to cope with this tension: some aimed at preserving the neoclassical framework at a more fundamental level, while some others aimed at transcending the framework to arrive at a new theory of economic systems and development. This paper argues that attempts that adhere to the neoclassical tradition is likely to lead to dead ends, while attempts that encompass collective as well as individualistic rationality represent more promising directions. Fuller developments of the literature, however, require incorporating objectified institutions and paradigmised technology into its sphere of inquiry. It is submitted that there are important lessons to learn from classical political economy and their modern presentations, particularly Marxian theories of the social forces of production, in this regard.
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