Economic discourse and the market
from Maria Alejandra Madi and the WEA Pedagogy Blog
In the last decades, the emergence and diffusion of the neoliberal agenda reflected the intellectual victory of Hayek’s ideas about the supremacy of the competitive economic order and the rejection of interventionism to promote economic growth and social justice. Considering the relevant economic outcomes of this intellectual victory, the main question that arises in the context of economics education is: What is at stake in the economic discourse that privileges the economic competitive order?
The economic competitive order, as a necessary one, is the pillar of Hayek’s theoretical construction. The competitive market is a necessary order in which men make choices and the fundamental economic problem is that of coordinating the plans of many independent individuals. The main advantage of the competitive economic order, in Hayek’s view, is that rational agents respond to price signals, which convey the relevant information available in the markets, for the purpose of economic calculus. In his view, competition, through the price market system, leads to such an efficient coordination. Individuals, acting in their own self-interest, respond to prices which, in turn, reflect the information available in society for the purpose of economic calculus. Indeed, prices are signals that support an extensive social division of labour in a context of individual freedom. In Hayek’s approach, the domain of liberty (the market) presupposes the legitimate domain of government intervention.
Taking into account the economics education, it is relevant to highlight that what is really at stake in economic discourse is the sociopolitical function of the scientific and academic work, and hence interests and ideologies. read more