Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Nat Dyer — How Fifty Years Of The ‘Nobel Prize’ In Economics Redrew Our Map Of Society

Fifty years ago this year, the King of Sweden presented with royal pomp the first ever Nobel medals in economics. The prize has been dogged by controversy ever since. Alfred Nobel the founder of the awards never wanted an economics prize, hisde scendants want it scrapped and the economist F.A. Hayek said it was dangerous.

That’s not the half. Serious thinkers argue that the prize in ‘economic sciences’, as it’s called, has given economic ideas which favour the rich and powerful the gloss of scientific truth. The prize, still paid for every year by Sweden’s Central Bank, has helped weaken democratic control of money, they argue, and helped one school of economic thought – known as neoclassical – dominate the rest. It has contributed to a crisis of conformity in economics and trouble well beyond the ivory tower....
I don't know how influential the Nobel in economics, since determining the influence of causal factor in such cases by putting numbers on it is difficult to impossible. However, the Nobel in economics was instituted subsequently by Riksbank rather than according to the wishes of Alfred Nobel, so attaching Nobel's name to it is disingenuous when it is actually the called  the "Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel." But "Nobel Prize in Economics" has stuck since it widely reverberates in the media echo chamber.

 And there have been some surprises, like Elinor Ostrum, who was an institutionalist rather than a neoclassical that contested the privatization argument of Garrett Hardin's Tragedy of the Commons based on neoclassical assumptions about markets.

But overall, the Nobel has tended to institutionalize the neoclassical approach to economics, including political economy. This has tended to favor the market state over the welfare state on the basis of neoclassical assumptions.

Promoting Economic Pluralism
How Fifty Years Of The ‘Nobel Prize’ In Economics Redrew Our Map Of Society
Nat Dyer

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