As identidades dos economistas

Eis aqui um interessante artigo de Dan Klein. Fortemente recomendado. Trecho (grande):

Economists who favor liberalization are routinely caricatured as exponents of flattening human beings down to machines-“economic man”-and flattening social affairs down to blackboard diagrams and mathematical models. Their policy views are said to stem from a faith in perfect competition. These slurs and monkey-shines are regurgitated by crass economists and are regularly aided and abetted by the left-leaning press. -As though The Theory of Moral Sentiments and The Wealth of Nations had never been written. As though Hayek, Friedman, Coase, Buchanan, Armen Alchian, Vernon Smith, Thomas Sowell, Deirdre McCloskey, etc. have never existed. As though we don’t exist.

The Smithian kin of economics have a problem. Even if that character can be fairly well drawn, it does not have a suitable identity. There is a Smithian character, shared by thousands. But there is not today a functioning Smithian identity. If we had a functioning identity, we would be less fringy within economics at large, and we would cultivate our own cultural niche and occupy the center of that sub-domain. Sometimes such an economist will call himself a “free-market economist.” Some might say “Austrian.” Some will simply say “economist.” None of these work well as an identity for the character favored here.

“Free-market economist” is misleading. First, it is easily misunderstood as the insistence that all markets should being absolutely free-something Smith explicitly rejected, as do most Smithians. Second, it would seem to signify any economist who favors free markets, regardless of other aspects of his character. Although every Smithian economist tends to favor freer markets, not every free-market economist shares the Smithian character. Enthusiastic young libertarians often cherish simple formulae that need to be overcome, or judiciously weakened, to mature into the “squishy” Smithian character. And, further down the path of life, a mature economist who never did relevant or meaningful research, and instead only practiced and affirmed arid applications of certain scholastic modes of discourse, and deprecated criticism of normal science, would not be a Smithian no matter how strongly he favored free markets. These reasons speak also against “libertarian economist” and “classical liberal economist.” Yet another problem with such names is that, while the Smithian character allows for outspokenness, it is just too pushy to announce political opinions in the name.

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