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Politics subordinated to (neoliberal) Economics

Vergés-Jaime, Joaquim (2022): Politics subordinated to (neoliberal) Economics.

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A wide ideological consequence of the standard model –in (mainstream) Economics– beyond Economics itself is that in the last decades Competition –so understood, with a capital letter– has implicitly become sort of a myth in economic policy and the political arena in general. Competition is, of course, consubstantial to trade; and trade is certainly consubstantial to the division of labour and specialisation, and thereby to economic progress and development. Certainly, it fosters efficiency and improvements in products and services, including innovations that give way to new ones. It is thus a ‘good practice’, an essential means to facilitate the economic development of society. There are, certainly, some exceptions: products or services for which it is not easy, sometimes almost not possible, for citizens, individual buyers, users, or consumers to reasonably have elements, information or knowledge to evaluate the actual utility, convenience, and personal and social implications of the good in question. This is a technical condition that most professional economists, both orthodox and heterodox, will coincide in underlining. However, what appears to have become a problem in this regard, in certain academic and political instances, is the mythification of Competition: to tacitly consider it as an end in itself instead of as a means to improve social well-being. This mythical character de facto assigned to the concept ‘Competition’ is intended to be illustrated in this paper.

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