quinta-feira, fevereiro 14, 2013

The role of ideas

Dani Rodrik: The Tyranny of Political Economy:
.. Frus­tra­ted by the re­a­li­ty that much of our ad­vi­ce went un­hee­ded (so many free-mar­ket so­lu­ti­ons still wai­ting to be taken up!), we tur­ned our ana­ly­ti­cal tool­kit on the be­ha­vi­or of po­li­ti­cians and bu­reau­crats them­sel­ves. We began to exa­mi­ne po­li­ti­cal be­ha­vi­or using the same con­cep­tu­al fra­me­work that we use for con­su­mer and pro­du­cer de­ci­si­ons in a mar­ket eco­no­my. Po­li­ti­cians be­ca­me in­co­me-maxi­mi­zing sup­pliers of po­li­cy fa­vors; ci­ti­zens be­ca­me rent-see­king lob­bies and spe­ci­al in­te­rests; and po­li­ti­cal sys­tems be­ca­me mar­ket­pla­ces in which votes and po­li­ti­cal in­flu­en­ce are tra­ded for eco­no­mic be­ne­fits.
.. The more we clai­med to be ex­plai­ning, the less room was left for im­pro­ving mat­ters. If po­li­ti­cians’ be­ha­vi­or is de­ter­mi­ned by the ve­sted in­te­rests to which they are be­hol­den, eco­no­mists’ ad­vo­ca­cy of po­li­cy re­forms is bound to fall on deaf ears. The more com­ple­te our so­ci­al sci­en­ce, the more ir­re­le­vant our po­li­cy ana­ly­sis.
There are three ways in which ideas shape in­te­rests. First, ideas de­ter­mi­ne how po­li­ti­cal eli­tes de­fi­ne them­sel­ves and the ob­jec­ti­ves they pur­sue ..

Se­cond, ideas de­ter­mi­ne po­li­ti­cal ac­tors’ views about how the world works ..

Most im­por­tant from the per­spec­ti­ve of po­li­cy ana­ly­sis, ideas de­ter­mi­ne the stra­te­gies that po­li­ti­cal ac­tors be­lie­ve they can pur­sue ..
Po­li­ti­cal eco­no­my un­doub­ted­ly remains im­por­tant. Wit­hout a clear un­der­stan­ding of who gains and who loses from the sta­tus quo, it is dif­fi­cult to make sense of our exis­ting po­li­cies. But an ex­ces­si­ve focus on ve­sted in­te­rests can ea­si­ly di­vert us from the cri­ti­cal con­tri­bu­ti­on that po­li­cy ana­ly­sis and po­li­ti­cal en­tre­pre­neur­ship can make. The pos­si­bi­li­ties of eco­no­mic chan­ge are li­mi­ted not just by the re­a­li­ties of po­li­ti­cal power, but also by the po­ver­ty of our ideas.

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