An Oxford scholar warns that our outmoded economic model is a “warrant for inflicting pain” first on the poor and minorities and eventually on most of society.
“One of the unresolved issues in social science is how does the system hold together,” he said. “We have the economic model of the invisible hand, the miracle of the market, but we know it is not true, since government allocates up to 50 percent of output and income. We don’t actually rely on the ‘free’ market for our prosperity. Even the market sector is mostly dominated by entities with large market power.”
“We have this model that we are all selfish and somehow this generates the miracle of cooperation,” he said. “But equilibrium is only a truism for the well-off. There is money in the bank. The car is in the drive. The shops are full. The semesters follow each other. There is an overseas conference. The world seems to be OK. But if you look the other way, look at these other people, there is a world of hardship, misery and suffering. These suffering people are not always visible to invisible-hand advocates.”
– Professor Avner Offer, MA, DPhil, FBA, Emeritus Fellow,
Chichele Professor of Economic History
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