Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Main Currents of Political Science and Economics — Over a Cataract

Duke professor Jedediah Purdy highlights a NY Times essay by Molly Worthen, particularly the following passage:
"The left can’t talk openly about ideology, while the right pretends to ignore its own identity politics. The country’s political conversation is boring and unsatisfying precisely because its unspoken rules forbid politicians from acknowledging what is really going on and encourage them to talk past one another. 
"The right has so thoroughly captured the terms of economic debate that American liberals — uniquely in the Western world — champion cultural issues like same-sex marriage equality while avoiding serious confrontation with the structural sources of socio-economic inequality. Their ideological cowardice has left them turning sensible reform proposals like single-payer health insurance into the Frankenstein’s monster of government-subsidized private enterprise that is the Affordable Care Act."

Before the elections, the Times was running a side by side comparison of several models predicting the outcome of the campaigns. I haven't found an account of how those models actually shaped up in the actual outcome.

One way or another, the "conversation is boring and unsatisfying" also captures something about the state of political science exemplified in those models. It's badly missing something. And I don't think it's any accident that it has bought so completely into the methods of the main current of economics that so badly missed critical trends of the past 35 years (not just the past 7 years).

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