chapter 11 - 11 Integrating Diverse Views of the Role of...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
11 Integrating Diverse Views of the Role of Government A first path to common ground involves simply rejecting the exclusionary practices of various disciplines. When economists theorize that growth is entirely endogenous to a few variables, we can simply object that various political, social, cultural, and technological factors have a major role to play (as many economists themselves appreciate). Likewise when cultural studies specialists imagine that culture is the prime moving force in human history we can suggest that other pheno- mena also exert important influences, even on culture itself. With such a simple stratagem we can find that different theories can be treated as complements even though their advocates view them as substitutes. While this first effort is invaluable, interdisciplinary analysis is not so simple, especially in human science. Human science theories often reach substantively different conclusions. That is, the logic of the theories, not just those variables assumed to be unimportant, lead to different conclusions. In such cases, we need to ask why these differing conclusions are reached, and then whether relatively minor adjustments to the assumptions of these theories can allow us to achieve common ground (Szostak 2002, 115). This step has for presentational reasons often been combined with the preceding steps: we spent a great deal of effort, for example, integrating different theories of institutional change in chapter 7. In the study of economic growth, it is the vexed question of the role of govern- ment that excites the most controversy. This broad issue has been touched upon at many points in the preceding chapters. This chapter integrates diverse arguments regarding the role of government. 11.1 The Role of Government Economists often emphasize in their theories and particularly their policy prescrip- tions a limited role for government. This is justified in terms of both micro- economics and macroeconomics. The microeconomic argument is that markets coordinate economic activity better than governments, and especially than corrupt or inept governments. The macroeconomic argument is that financial stability (important especially for encouraging investment, but also trade), depends on rea- sonably balanced budgets: countries with limited tax revenues should be wary of borrowing in order to finance increased expenditures. Concerns about how taxes distort economic decisions and may act to decrease work effort can discourage such governments from raising taxes, even when they possess the administrative capability. Foreign aid may solve some of the fiscal problem, but cannot solve the microeconomic problem. In addition economists often apply their assumptions of R. Szostak, The Causes of Economic Growth , DOI: 10.1007/978-3-540-92282-7_11, © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009 305
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
306 11. Integrating Diverse Views of the Role of Government selfish behavior to government bureaucrats, and thus expect that these may twist
Background image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 11/20/2010 for the course ECONOMICS 331 taught by Professor Mj during the Fall '10 term at University of Alberta.

Page1 / 26

chapter 11 - 11 Integrating Diverse Views of the Role of...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 3. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online