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Economic issues are far too important to be left to economists

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Back to the true roots of the economy

Economic issues are far too important to be left to economists. After all, most of the core questions labeled as “economic” are profoundly political questions — in that they are really about the distribution of power.

And yet, most U.S. economists — the dominant tribe of the global profession — are too gun-shy to get to the core of those power issues.

Rather than considering the effect an action will have on the bigger, political and social picture, they often advocate for trade-offs that favor short-term thinking.

Those “solutions” — whether in effect or by design — tend to favor the existing economic elites. They come at the expense of the general welfare of the whole society.

To get to brighter shores again, it is important to recall the true root

of the word “economy,” from a Greek term for household management.

On a national or global scale, we have a big “household” with many areas to manage and maintain.

Thus, “economy” is a term capturing the broad range of core social issues — from the material positions of families and homes to energy and the environment.

Our EconoMatters op-ed column is intended to capture the richness of that turf — as well as the interconnectedness of many of those issues.

At a time of massive income inequality and glacial political progress, it is clear that we need a new path to finding better answers to the key challenges humanity faces.


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