The Two Narratives of Political Economy

Every once in a while I try to educate myself about the dismal science.

A retro review from June 14, 2012 …

Review: The Two Narratives of Political Economy, eds. Nicholas Capaldi and Gordon Lloyd, 2010.Two Narratives of Political Economy

The two narratives are the arguments for liberty and the argument for equality, the two ultimate sources for most of our political debates these days, our discussions over what government should and can do. This book traces the main points of that argument for roughly two hundred years. What causes enslavement, what causes inequality, what can eliminate either, and whether it is possible to solve both problems at once – if they are problems, is what this book covers.

While economics was already pretending to be a science and using some very simple equations, these selections all come from a time when economics was not pretending to be a values neutral description of the world separate from politics, just another impartial tool for government to pick up as needed. These authors all have a political picture of the world they wish to preserve or create, an idea of the best life for man.

It’s evident fairly early on Capaldi’s and Lloyd’s sympathies are with the liberty narrative. They both are affiliated with the Liberty Fund. Some exclamation marks get thrown around in the introduction to the equality narratives, and, at one point, they openly state the book is weighted towards the liberty narrative since the equality narrative is the default one of the modern world, an observation hard to argue with. Continue reading