Monday, 19 March 2007

Political Infeasibility

Lifted from Greg Mankiw’s blog – a quotation from the late Milton Friedman in his new biography (emphasis added):

“The role of the economist in discussions of public policy seems to me to be to prescribe what should be done in light of what can be done, politics aside, and not to predict what is ‘politically feasible’ and then to recommend it.”

I am convinced that public policy debates in Malaysia would be much more fruitful and encompassing for the development of the nation if they are done so. And perhaps, through the resulting public awareness, it will also extend the realm of our political feasibilities.



Anonymous said...

I read B.Delong's review and he said ..
" MFriedman was in the same chapter, if not on the same page, as Keynes, the econ. giant whose doctrines he worked tirelessly to supplant "



I adore Prof. Mankiw .. grew up with his Econs. text books and have been reading his blog regularly

Chewxy said...

Well, you still have the politicians who ultimately decides that the rational economic decision is irrational to them, and their pockets are more important than General Good.

Besides, have you watched any public policy debates on national TV? like on TV 1 (Debat Perdana and various others), etc? It sounds so scripted, and and any more creative ideas are stiffled in favor of more conservative views. The typical "Free Market Is Son Of Satan" type of debate with both sides conscripted to argue for the same idea. (Oh yes, our "Uni grads" who debated on the telly seem to think that markets are evil, and only the govt has perfect information to remedy every single cure.

It's on every week. Watch it and balk.

Closest thing to a good public policy debate (besides the Internet) is on Astro AEC - the Public View of Social stuff thingy... I don't watch it lol, can't remember what's the name of the program

Chewxy said...

p/s: You seem to be one of the only few people in the Malaysian blogosphere who is posting what can be done economically. The others I read... they just rant.

Well, you keep up the good job. Don't give up no matter how disillusioned you are XD

pp/s: I also used Mankiw's text :D

zcer said...

I think, instead of being either normative or descriptive, economics should be normative-conditional.

That is, kinda like programming, where, if you want achieve such-and-such benefits, and avoid such-and-such loss, then you must do this-and-that. Regardless of political feasabilities. This would force politicians into choosing not between economic policies, but into choosing their country to either prosper, or go to hell.

Err...i think this is possible. Unless economic theory is not developed or uncontentious enough.

Elanor said...

hi guys, thanks for all the insightful comments.

zcer, again i think you got it spot on! haha. unfortunately though, economics is neither as deterministic nor as well understood/accepted as erm, programming.

freethinker said...

Fundamental problem lies in the racial politics.. As long the structure is race-based, what's good on paper may never put into practise