Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Manfred Max-Neef on Neo-Liberalism

Chiliean economist Manfred Max-Neef, in the brief video below, advances a biting critique of neo-Liberal economic theory in very much the same vein as my recent 'Society, The Economy & The Environment' post.  He argues that much of the development economics taught today is at odds with the implementation of economic policies as experienced by much world's poor.  This has resulted in a 'value-free' science that fails to address the multitude of human needs in pursuit of economic bottom lines and has proven destructive towards communities, civil society and the environment.

1 comment:

Arkan said...

Nice post Alex. I particularly like his point on the value-free notion of economics.

Similarly, I watched the freakonomics documentary a few nights ago and was struck by how bad it was. The message presented is that human society is far to complex to justify any government interference or regulation, yet we can reduce all human behavior to "incentives." Incentives are just a fraction of the picture, and there seems to be an extreme bias in current economic thinking to look only in certain areas because it is the only thing that economics measure. Sort of like the old joke about looking for ones keys under a lamp post.

It seems to be that once you claim that a value-free method of analysis can explain everything, reality has to be distorted to fit theory, rather than the theory clarifying reality.