Chapter 8: Economic Policy – A Process of Communication
Lambert T. Koch 1. INTRODUCTION In the attempt to provide an analytical structure for the process of economic policy making, the literature on the subject often diﬀerentiates between three basic categories, i.e. determining the status quo, setting aims, selecting measures.1 Here it is presumed that this three-step process should programmatically guide investigations into economic policy making and that it should thus be the original task of a positive theory of economic policy to pose the question as to the most suitable tools for a targetperformance comparison on an aggregated level when faced with diﬀerent types of situations and target constellations. Suitable measures would be those which lead to a corresponding balance in the most eﬃcient way. Doubts about this idea, which is part of the core of orthodox theory on economic policy, are nothing new.2 Here we are dealing with the basic pattern of a procedure which theorists as far back as Albert already criticised as being instrumentalistic-technocratic (cf. Albert 1967, p. 113), seeing the danger of false methodological concepts resulting in excessive expectations of feasibility in economic policy (cf. Homann 1980). An instrumentalistic-technocratic programme suggests that the process of economic policy making can be understood using a machine model as described by Heinz von Förster (cf. Förster on 1984). This would mean that suﬃcient knowledge of an initial situation and of currently valid transformation rules would be enough to deduce the ‘right’ measures.3 In this way, planning and forecasting problems in economic policy...
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