July, 2016

Has the U.S. Economy Really Recovered?

A Curmudgeonly Answer
  • Richard Wagner

    Distinguished Senior Fellow, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics and Economics
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Find the article at SSRN.

This essay stems from an invitation from the editor of The Global ANALYST (Hyderabad) to prepare a 2500 word response to the question: “Has the U.S. Economy Really Recovered?” The curmudgeonly character of my response speaks to different orientations toward the economic theory of public policy. Most economists identify economics as enabling them to act as policy mechanics, similar to J. M. Keynes’s musing about dentistry. In contrast, I explore the question from the orientation of complex systems theory, explaining in the process that policy action doesn’t so much overcome social problems as it creates them. Such events as the so-called crisis of 2008 are intelligible outcomes of an institutional framework where public ordering has come to occupy the foreground of social action, with private ordering becoming relegated to the background.