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Political Events and Economic Ideas

Political Events and Economic Ideas

Edited by Ingo Barens, Volker Caspari and Bertram Schefold

The influence of political developments on the evolution of economic thought is the main theme behind this book. As the authors reveal throughout the book, history has shown many times that political events can trigger the formulation of new economic conceptions that in turn influence the future economic development of a country.

Chapter 16: Specific Interrelations of Politics and Economics in Russian History

Vladimir Avtonomov

Subjects: economics and finance, economic psychology, history of economic thought, political economy, politics and public policy, political economy


16. Specific interrelations of politics and economics in Russian history Vladimir Avtonomov GENERAL TENDENCIES The topic of this section allows for dual interpretation. It can involve political influence on economics as well as the role of economists in policy-making. In this chapter I will try to touch upon both aspects but predominantly upon the second one. Interrelations between economics and policy-making have been changing significantly in the history of economics. To follow this process I find it useful to employ the old Schumpeterian distinction between professional economic analysis and ‘lay’ economic thought (Schumpeter, [1954] 1997, p. 7,38). The separation of both (this means emancipation of economic analysis from economic thought which coincided with its emancipation from moral philosophy) probably first became obvious through the physiocrats. Prior to that there did not exist any tension between economics and policymaking because economists pursued practical ends and served political leaders directly. With the emergence of professional economic analysis equipped with specific tools of research inaccessible to laymen the gradual process of separation began which accelerated tremendously in consequence of the marginalist revolution in economics. Since then policymakers have always needed some sort of translation from the language of professional economists. In general the influence of prevalent economic theory upon state policy most often came to the fore in periods of economic reforms because in times when the status quo prevailed and the economy developed smoothly the authorities usually didn’t need any special economic policy measures, let alone...

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