The Moral Burden on Economists

Thursday, April 13, 2017
Institute for New Economic Thinking

In his 2017 presidential address to the National Economic Association, Professor Darrick Hamilton warned that treating economics as a morally neutral ‘science’, and the discipline’s limited attention to structural barriers and overemphasis individual agency, has resulted in bad economics, and bad policy particularly as it relates to racial disparity.

"The Rev. Dr. William Barber describes economic justice as a moral imperative.  This sentiment is in contrast with our emergent economic priorities around austerity and economic growth — which, ironically, are often at odds with one another — while economic equity, fairness and human capabilities take a distant backseat."

"Our economic profession and its so-called “positivist” approach and “free-market” dogma are culpable for advancing this paradigm."

"The term political economist has become an albatross, as if the field is somehow scientifically weaker or less “objective” than plain ‘ole’ economics.  One need not sacrifice rigor to study how institutions and behaviors intertwine with an objective of building economic inclusion. Likewise, we need to recognize that all scholarship is rooted in “norms,” especially scholarship that claims to study production, transactions and distribution."

Read the full article here