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Politicisation of Knowledge: Development Economies

  • Economics
  • Political Science


Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Volkswirtschaft und Statistik Revue suisse d'Economie politique et de Statistique Herausgegeben von der Schweizerischen Gesellschaftfür Statistik und Volkswirtschaft Publiée par la Société suisse de Statistique et d'Economie politique Redaktion I Rédaction : Prof Dr. H.G.Bieri 112. Jahrgang/112e année Heft/Fase. 3 Juni/Juin 1975 Politicisation of Knowledge : Development Economies * ByP.T.Bauer 1. Introduction Ortega y Gasset considered the absence of standards as the essence of barbarism. "Barbarism'is the absence of standards to which appeal can be made." * I shall argue that barbarism in the sense of an absence of intellectual standards character- ises much of contemporary development economics and to a lesser extent other branches of economics, chiefly because of the subordination of scholarship to political aims and to other practical objectives, though this is reinforced by other factors2. I shall show that some economists holding senior academic positions confuse free goods and scarce resources, ignore the dependence of supply and demand on price, or neglect patent empirical evidence pertinent to their arguments. But before I can establish the prevalance of these shortcomings, I shall have to present numerous examples and quotations at some length. 1 shall examine these shortcomings and the possible influences behind them primarily with reference to development economics. Influences at work in other branches of economics are thrown into sharp relief in this field, which makes it * This paper was prepared for the Center of Research in Government Policy and Business at the University of Rochester. It was presented at the First Interlaken Seminar on Analysis and Ideology, i The Revolt of the Masses, London, 1932, p. 79. 2 I shall use development economics and economics of less developed countries (ldcs) interchange- ably, and similarly the terms politicisation, supremacy or paramountcy of politics, politique d'abord

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