Anyone determined to provide a “new economics” must haul a heavy burden of proof up a steep slope of professional resistance. At the summits of academic prestige, economics presents a Delphic façade of math and marble.
A still higher barrier faces anyone suggesting major modification to the entrenched system of reasonably free markets and economic incentives associated with “capitalism.” Within recent memory, exponents of free markets — myself included — were celebrating a triumphalist “end of history.” Even China’s “Communist Party” and “Middle Kingdom,” self-consciously central in the order of the universe, were thriving as a self-evidently capitalist regime. China’s entrepreneurs were as “free to choose” as any “robber baron” of yore, particularly if their field was sufficiently technical to baffle the bureaucracy and so long as they didn’t under any circumstances compare their rulers to Winnie-the-Pooh.
With the U.S., Europe, and China all essentially organized by markets, dissenters retreated to government-funded universities, cranky leftist redoubts such as Harvard and the New York Times, and green movements thriving on money and lawyers from the disgruntled families of penitent or deceased entrepreneurs.
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