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Dan Kervick

Hi Eric,

Interesting discussion. Perhaps Daniel Bell's work is an source to look at in understanding this postwar trend, which as you say is older than neoliberalism.

Eric Schliesser

Yes, Dan, I am kind of expecting to spend the next few years reading and re-reading a lot of old critical theory and sociology of knowledge and political economy (including Bell). So much to look forward to!

Alexander Douglas

I noticed something about an example Friedman gives in the Methodology of Positive Economics paper. It's meant to illustrate how many policy debates are over positive rather than normative questions. What I noticed is that it doesn't show what he wants it to show. His example (as you know) is the debate about legal minimum wages. The contention is over whether imposing them will ‘diminish poverty … without any counterbalancing increase in the number of people entirely unemployed’ or whether it will increase ‘the number of people who are unemployed’, which ‘more than offsets any favorable effect on the wages of those who remain employed’. Friedman says that's a positive not a normative issue. But 'counterbalancing' and 'offsets' are normatively-laden terms. It's possible for people to disagree on the points Friedman presents while *agreeing* on the likely results of the policy. The question would be whether, in that single scenario, the unemployment effects really 'offset' or 'counterbalance' the wage effects, and that could readily boil down to a question of how much you value people's right to employment vs. their right to be paid a wage when they are working, or some other normative commitment of that sort.

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Here's a link to my past blogging (and discussions involving me) at: New APPS.


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