Dienstag, 31. Mai 2016

Hausmann über Heterodoxie in der VWL

Ricardo Hausmann empfiehlt vorsichtig offen für heterodoxe Ansätze/Erklärungsmuster in der VWL zu sein.


Er illustriert seine These am Beispiel von Venezuela, wo die Aussetzung von fundamentalen Preismechanismen zu einer enormen Verarmung des Landes geführt hat.
"Ever since the 2008 financial crisis, it has been common to chastise economists for not having predicted the disaster, for having offered the wrong prescriptions to prevent it, or for having failed to fix it after it happened. The call for new economic thinking has been persistent – and justified. But all that is new may not be good, and that all that is good may not be new.[...]

One of those fundamentals is the idea that, to achieve social goals, it is better to use – rather than repress – the market. After all, the market is essentially just a form of self-organization whereby everyone tries to earn a living by doing things that others find valuable. In most countries, people buy food, soap, and toilet paper without incurring a national policy nightmare, as has happened in Venezuela. 

But suppose you do not like the outcome the market generates. Standard economic theory suggests that you can affect it by taxing some transactions – such as, say, greenhouse-gas emissions – or giving money to certain groups of people, while letting the market do its thing. 

An alternative tradition, going back to Saint Thomas Aquinas, held that prices should be “just.” Economics has shown that this is a really bad idea, because prices are the information system that creates incentives for suppliers and customers to decide what and how much to make or buy. Making prices “just” nullifies this function, leaving the economy in perpetual shortage. [...]

These so-called indirect subsidies can quickly cause an immense economic mess. In Venezuela, subsidies for gasoline and electricity are larger than the budget for education and health care combined; exchange-rate subsidies are in a class of their own. With one daily minimum wage in Venezuela, you can buy barely a half-pound (227 grams) of beef or 12 eggs, or 1,000 liters (264 gallons) of gasoline or 5,100 kWh of electricity – enough to power a small town. With the proceeds of selling a dollar at the black market rate, you can buy over $100 at the strongest official rate.  [...]

Orthodoxy reflects history’s painfully acquired lessons – the sum of what we regard to be true. But not all of it is true. Progress requires identifying errors, which in turn calls for heterodox thinking. But learning becomes difficult when there are long delays between action and consequences, as when we try to regulate the water temperature while in the shower. When reaction times are slow, exploring the heterodox is necessary, but should be done with care. When all orthodoxy is thrown out the window, you get the disaster that was the Chinese Cultural Revolution – and that is today’s Venezuela."
Ich denke auch, dass man mit einer Synthese heterodoxer Ideen und herkömmlicher Modelle stärkeren Fortschritt macht, als mit einer Fundamentalopposition gegen den "VWL-Mainstream".

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