“I have a student called Suby Roy…”: Reflections on Frank Hahn (1925-2013), my master in economic theory

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1. “What was relatively weak at LSE was general economic theory. We were good at deriving the Best Linear Unbiased Estimator but left unsatisfied with our grasp of the theory of value that constituted the roots of our discipline. I managed a First and was admitted to Cambridge as a Research Student in 1976, where fortune had Frank Hahn choose me as a student. That at the outset was protection from the communist cabal that ran “development economics” with whom almost all the Indians ended up. I was wholly impecunious in my first year as a Research Student, and had to, for example, proof-read Arrow and Hahn’s General Competitive Analysis for its second edition to receive 50 pounds sterling from Hahn which kept me going for a short time. My exposure to Hahn’s subtle, refined and depthless thought as an economist of the first rank led to fascination and wonderment, and I read and re-read his “On the notion of equilibrium in economics”, “On the foundations of monetary theory”, “Keynesian economics and general equilibrium theory” and other clear-headed attempts to integrate the theory of value with the theory of money — a project Wicksell and Marshall had (perhaps wisely) not attempted and Keynes, Hicks and Patinkin had failed at.

 

 

Hahn insisted a central question was to ask how money, which is intrinsically worthless, can have any value, why anyone should want to hold it. The practical relevance of this question is manifest. India today in 2007 has an inconvertible currency, vast and growing public debt financed by money-creation, and more than two dozen fiscally irresponsible State governments without money-creating powers. While pondering, over the last decade, whether India’s governance could be made more responsible if States were given money-creating powers, I have constantly had Hahn’s seemingly abstruse question from decades ago in mind, as to why anyone will want to hold State currencies in India, as to whether the equilibrium price of those monies would be positive. (Lerner in fact gave an answer in 1945 when he suggested that any money would have value if its issuer agreed to collect liabilities in it — as a State collects taxes – and that may be the simplest road that bridges the real/monetary divide.)

 

 

Though we were never personal friends and I did not ingratiate myself with Hahn as did many others, my respect for him only grew when I saw how he had protected my inchoate classical liberal arguments for India from the most vicious attacks that they were open to from the communists. My doctoral thesis, initially titled “A monetary theory for India”, had to be altered due to paucity of monetary data at the time, as well as the fact India’s problems of political economy and allocation of real resources were more pressing, and so the thesis became “On liberty and economic growth: preface to a philosophy for India”. When no internal examiner could be found, the University of Cambridge, at Hahn’s insistence, showed its greatness by appointing two externals: C. J. Bliss at Oxford and T. W. Hutchison at Birmingham, former students of Hahn and Joan Robinson respectively. My thesis received the most rigorous and fairest imaginable evaluation from them…”

 

 

2. “Frank Hahn believed in throwing students in at the deep end — or so it seemed to me when, within weeks of my arrival at Cambridge as a 21 year old Research Student, he insisted I present my initial ideas on the foundations of monetary theory at his weekly seminar.

 

 

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I was petrified but somehow managed to give a half-decent lecture before a standing-room only audience in what used to be called the “Keynes Room” in the Cambridge Economics Department. (It helped that a few months earlier, as a final year undergraduate at the LSE, I had been required to give a lecture at ACL Day’s Seminar on international monetary economics. It is a practice I came to follow with my students in due course, as there may be no substitute in learning how to think while standing up.) I shall try to publish exactly what I said at my Hahn-seminar when I find the document; broadly, it had to do with the crucial problem Hahn had identified a dozen years earlier in Patinkin’s work by asking what was required for the price of money to be positive in a general equilibrium, i.e. why do people everywhere hold and use money when it is intrinsically worthless. Patinkin’s utility function had real money balances appearing along with other goods; Hahn’s “On Some Problems of Proving the Existence of an Equilibrium in a Monetary Economy” in Theory of Interest Rates (1965), was the decisive criticism of this, where he showed that Patinkin’s formulation could not ensure a non-zero price for money in equilibrium. Hence Patinkin’s was a model in which money might not be held and therefore failed a vital requirement of a monetary economy. The announcement of my seminar was scribbled by a young Cambridge lecturer named Oliver Hart, later a distinguished member of MIT and Harvard University.”

 

 

3.   Then there was Sraffa…I saw him many a time, in the Marshall Library… He would smile very broadly at me and without saying anything  indicate with his hand to invite me to his office.. I fled in some fear… It was very stupid of me of course… Joan Robinson cornered me once and took me into the office she shared with EAG… She came at me for an hour or so wishing to supervise me, I kept declining politely… saying I was with Frank Hahn and wished to work on money… “What does Frankie know about India?” she said… I said I did not know but he did know about monetary theory and that was what I needed for India;  I also said I did not think much about the Indian Marxists she had supervised… and mentioned a prominent name… she said about him, “Yes most of what he does can go straight into the dustbin”…

 

 

4.   “I had been attracted to Cambridge partly by its old reputation for philosophy, especially that of Wittgenstein. But I met no worthwhile philosophers there until a few months before I was to leave for the United States in 1980, when I chanced upon the work of Renford Bambrough. Hahn had challenged me with the question, “how are you so sure your value judgements promoting liberty blah-blah are better than those of Chenery and the development economists?” It was a question that led inevitably to ethics and its epistemology — when I chanced upon Bambrough’s work, and that of his philosophical master, John Wisdom, the immense expanse of metaphysics (or ontology) opened up as well. “Then felt I like some watcher of the skies, When a new planet swims into his ken; Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes, He star’d at the Pacific…””

 

 

5. “I went to Virginia because James M. Buchanan was there, and he, along with FA Hayek, were whom Hahn decided to write on my behalf. Hayek said he was too old to accept me but wrote me kind and generous letters praising and hence encouraging my inchoate liberal thoughts and arguments. Buchanan was welcoming and I learnt much from him and his colleagues about the realities of public finance and democratic politics, which I quickly applied in my work on India…” Hahn told me he did not know Buchanan but he did know Hayek well and that his wife Dorothy had been an original member of the Mont Pelerin Society in 1947 or 1948. Hence I am amused reading a prominent NYU “American Austrian” say about Frank’s passing “I do think economics would have been better off if the Arrow-Debreu-Hahn approach had not been taken so seriously by the profession. I think it turned out to be an intellectual straight-jacket that prevented the discussion of valuable outside-the-box ideas”, and am tempted to paraphrase the closing lines of Tractatus — “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent/About what one can not speak, one must remain silent” — to read “Of that of which we are ignorant, we should at least try not to gas about…” Hahn and Hayek were friends, from when Hayek taught at the London School of Economics in Robbins’ seminar, and Hahn was Robbins’ doctoral student.

 

 

6. “The Hawaii project manuscript contained inter alia a memorandum by Milton Friedman done at the request of the Government of India in November 1955, which had been suppressed for 34 years until I published it in May 1989. Milton and Rose Friedman refer to this in their memoirs Two Lucky People (Chicago 1998). Peter Bauer had told me of the existence of Friedman’s document during my doctoral work at Cambridge under Frank Hahn in the late 1970s, as did N. Georgescu-Roegen in America. Those were years in which Brezhnev still ruled in the Kremlin, Gorbachev was yet to emerge, Indira Gandhi and her pro-Moscow advisers were ensconced in New Delhi, and not even the CIA had imagined the Berlin Wall would fall and the Cold War would be over within a decade. It was academic suicide at the time to argue in favour of classical liberal economics even in the West. As a 22-year-old Visiting Assistant Professor at the Delhi School of Economics in 1977, I was greeted with uproarious laughter of senior professors when I spoke of a possible free market in foreign exchange. Cambridge was a place where Indian economists went to study the exploitation of peasants in Indian agriculture before returning to their friends in the well-known bastions of such matters in Delhi and Calcutta. It was not a place where Indian (let alone Bengali) doctoral students in economics mentioned the unmentionable names of Hayek or Friedman or Buchanan, and insisted upon giving their works a hearing. My original doctoral topic in 1976 “A monetary theory for India” had to be altered not only due to paucity of monetary data at the time but because the problems of India’s political economy and allocation of resources in the real economy were far more pressing. The thesis that emerged in 1982 “On liberty and economic growth: preface to a philosophy for India” was a full frontal assault from the point of view of microeconomic theory on the “development planning” to which everyone routinely declared their fidelity, from New Delhi’s bureaucrats and Oxford’s “development” school to McNamara’s World Bank with its Indian staffers. Frank Hahn protected my inchoate liberal arguments for India; and when no internal examiner could be found, Cambridge showed its greatness by appointing two externals, Bliss at Oxford and Hutchison at Birmingham, both Cambridge men.”

 

 

7. “I have a student called Suby Roy…”  Frank sends me to America in 1980 to work with Jim Buchanan… One letter from him was all it took…

 

 

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And then five years later in 1985 he calls me “probably the outstanding young Hayekian”, says I had brought “a good knowledge of economics and of philosophy to bear on the literature on economic planning”, had “a good knowledge of economic theory” and that my “critique of Development Economics was powerful not only on methodological but also on economic theory grounds” — all that to me has been a special source of delight.

 

 

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We did not meet often after I left Cambridge but he wrote very kindly always, and finally said, hearing of my travails and troubles and adventures, “well you are having an interesting life…”…

 

 

In America, I once met Robert M Solow in a hotel elevator as we were on a  panel at a conference together; I  introduced myself as Hahn’s student… “Aren’t you lucky?” said Solow with a smile…and he was right… I was lucky…

 

 

I said of Milton Friedman that he had been “the greatest economist after John Maynard Keynes”;  Milton’s critic, Frank Hahn, may have been the greatest economic theorist of modern times.

 

 

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                                                                      Frank Hahn (1925-2013)

Decision-making in terrorist-hostage situations: Observations from the Mumbai case

From Facebook various dates between Nov 26 2008 and Nov 26 2009:

 

Subroto Roy

thinks any developing terrorist situation suffers from Clausewitz’s “fog of war”, viz., “The great uncertainty of all data in war is a peculiar difficulty, because all action must, to a certain extent, be planned in a mere twilight, which in addition not infrequently — like the effect of a fog or moonshine — gives to things exaggerated dimensions and unnatural appearance.”

 

thinks in terrorist-hostage situations, the commander of the first-responding units should be the prima facie decision-maker whose directions need to be followed even by (more high-powered) reinforcements because of the Hayekian reason that person may be presumed to have the best/deepest/longest knowledge of the particular circumstances.

 

is led to think DCP Patil, the first responder at the Taj, had correctly identified where the terrorists were and begged for reinforcements which came far too late because the Army captain given orders to surround the hotel refused to move inside without further orders, and the Navy commandos did not turn up. Mumbai police were as brave as they could be — the military (including the NSG) have a lot to answer for.

 

is coming to the view that the Army general who sent the contingent to the Taj without orders to assist the police fully was a key person yet to be held accountable.

 

says: Of course one has to go location by location. But the Taj was in a sense the most signficant and the one where victory was closest and possible the earliest. DCP Patil was the first responder who was in position and had pinpointed the room the terrorists were in for long. This was *before* the handlers ordered the fire. Patil repeatedly pleaded for an armed force to attack, which he would have joined. The Army turned up and then the Captain in charge said he could not join this attack without further Army orders. Had that attack occurred, say by 40 men against 2 or 4, the Taj would have been secured, perhaps prisoners captured.  Secondly, the capture of Kasab was entirely done by the police, no military involved. The commando operations at Nariman House looked rather ham-handed, even inept. The single most critical failure appears to have been that Army Captain saying he did not have orders to join an attack inside the Taj. (And it was less the Captain’s failure than the General’s who had sent him.) The remainder was part of the “fog of war”.

 

says: My assessment is that the police did what they could and knew how to given a surprise attack of unknown dimensions and given poor resources. I do not blame a policeman armed with a lathi or a .303 if he takes cover or flees from an assault-rifle. They told the Chief Secretary to ask for Army help who did so. The Army, Navy and NSG were where tangible failures of leadership may have occurred, though of course there were individual NSG men and officers who were exceptional. The initial attack that DCP Patil had recommended would not only have worked (because there was no fire/smoke at the time) but would have swung the battle decisively. As it turned out, it took 60+hours to kill 9 men, plus a lot of casualties and damage.


Nandan Nilekani’s Nonsensical Numbering (Updated to 11 January 2013)

Original post: 14 Sep 2009

I have been a rather harsh critic of Indian English-language media but I was pleased to see Mr Karan Thapar with good research systematically expose the other day the nonsense being purveyed by Mr Nandan Nilekani about the idea of branding each of a billion Indians with a government number. This is not Auschwitz.   Nor can India create an American-style Social Security Administration.  Mr Nilekani seems not to have the faintest idea about India’s poor and destitute, else he would not have made a statement like “We need one single, non-duplicate way of identifying a person and we need a mechanism by which we can authenticate that online anywhere because that can have huge benefits and impact on public services and also on making the poor more inclusive in what is happening in India today.”  (italics added)

What does he plan to do?  Haul away the hundreds of thousands of  homeless from the streets  and  flyovers of our major cities and start interrogating, measuring, photographing and fingerprinting them against their will?  On what ploy?  That without the number  he will give them they will not be able to continue to live and do what they have been doing for half a generation?  Or that they will get a delicious hot meal from the Taj or Oberoi if they cooperate?  And what about rural India?  Does he plan to make an aerial survey of India’s rural landscapes by helicopter to find whom he can catch to interrogate and fingerprint? It will be grotesquely amusing to see his cohorts try to identify and then haul away India’s poor from their normal activities — he and his friends will likely come to grief trying to do so!  Guaranteed.  And the people will cheer because they know fakery when they see it.

Mr Nilekani needs to ask his economist-friends to teach him about asymmetric information, incentive-compatiblity theory etc.  There have been several  Bank of Sweden prizes given to economists for this material, beginning with FA Hayek in 1974 or even earlier.

(As for the wholly different stated agenda of preventing crime and terrorism using Mr Nilekani’s numbering, might we recall that Kasab’s dead companions have remained unclaimed in a Mumbai morgue for almost ten months now?)

The whole exercise that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has with such fanfare set Mr Nilekani is ill-conceived and close to complete nonsense  — designed only to keep in business the pampered industry that Mr Nilekani has been part of as well as its bureaucratic friends.   The Prime Minister has made another error and should put a stop to it before it gets worse.   The poor have their privacy and their dignity.    They are going to refuse to waste their valuable time  at the margins of survival volunteering for such gimmickry.

A Discussion Regarding Mr Nilekani’s Public Project

September 15, 2009 — drsubrotoroy | Edit

In response to my “Nandan Nilekani’s Nonsensical Numbering”,

Friendly Critic says:

I don’t think registering everyone in the country is such a bad idea. It may be difficult. But the post office reaches letters to anyone in the country, even the homeless. I don’t think it is doing anything wrong.

I replied:

The post office reaches letters to those with an address.

Friendly Critic replied:

You are mistaken. It reaches letters to beggars, addressed to the nearest pan shop. To repeat, I do not think it is wrong to register all residents; there are some good uses for it. If it is all right to enumerate residents once every ten years, there is nothing wrong in maintaining a continuous inventory. Only the British have an aversion to doing so, on grounds of piracy. But even their electoral registers are based on enumeration. And to attack Nilekani simply because he has taken on a job offered seems excessive to me.

I replied:

Thanks for this correspondence.  We may be slightly at cross-purposes and there may be some miscomprehension.  Of course if a beggar has a pan-shop as an address, that is an address.   But we are not talking about the efficiency or lack thereof of our postal services.

We are talking about the viability and utility of trying to attach a number, as an identification tag, to every Indian — for the declared purposes of (a) battling absolute poverty (of the worst kind); and(b) battling terrorism and crime.

Many Indians have passports, driving licenses, Voter cards,  PAN numbers, mobile numbers etc.    I am sure giving them a Nandan Nilekani Number will be easy.  It will be, incidentally, lucrative for the IT industry.

It will also be pointless to the extent that these people, who may number into the hundreds of millions, are already adequately identifiable by one or two other forms of photo id-cards.   (By way of analogy incidentally, Americans used to cash cheques at supermarkets using one or two photo ids — but the Social Security Card or number was not allowed to be one of them as it had no photo.)

Neither of the two declared objectives will have been explicitly served by giving Nandan Nilekani Numbers to those already adequately identifiable.

My point about incentive-compatibility is that the intended beneficiaries in any program of this kind (namely the anonymous absolute poor) need to have clear natural incentives to participate in order to make it work.  Here there are none.  Taking the very poorest people off the streets or out of their hamlets to be interrogated, photographed, fingerprinted and enumerated against their will, when they may have many more valuable things to be doing with their time in order to survive, is a violation of their freedom, privacy and dignity.   Even if they submit to all this voluntarily, there are no obvious tangible benefits accruing to them as individuals as a result of this number (that many will not be able to read).

If those already adequately identifiable easily get an NNN (at low cost and without violation of indvidual freedom or dignity), while those who are the intended beneficiaries do not do so (except at high cost and with violations of individual freedom and dignity), that would enhance inequality.

Because such obvious points have failed to be accounted ab initio in this Big Business scheme paid for by public money, I have had to call it nonsensical.

Some follow-up  11 January 2013

From Facebook 11 January 2013

A biometrically generated large number is given to a very poor barely literate person and he/she is instructed that that is the key, the *sole* key, to riches and benefits from the state. The person lives on the margins of survival, eking out a daily income for himself/herself plus dependents under trying conditions. It is that absolute anonymous poor — who are *not* already identifiable easily through mobile numbers, voter id cards, drivers’ licenses etc — who are the intended beneficiaries. Suppose that person loses the card or has it stolen. Has the key to the riches and benefits from the state vanished? Those who are already easily identifiable need only produce alternative sources of identification and so for them to get the number as a means of identification is redundant, yet it is they who will likely have better access to the supposed benefits rather than the absolute poor. What New Delhi’s governing class fails to see is that the masses of India’s poor are not themselves a mass waiting for New Delhi’s handouts: they are *individuals*, free, rational, thinking individuals who know their own lives and resources and capacities and opportunities, and how to go about living their lives best. What they need is security, absence of state or other tyranny, roads, fresh water, electricity, functioning schools for their children, market opportunities for work, etc, not handouts from a monarch or aristocrats or businessmen….

Thoughts, words, deeds: My work 1973-2020

This is an incomplete bibliography of my writings, public lectures etc 1973-2020 including citations, reviews, comments. I have been mostly an academic economist who by choice or circumstance over 47 years has had to venture also into science, philosophy, public policy, law, jurisprudence, practical politics, history, international relations, military strategy, financial theory, accounting, management, journalism, literary criticism, psychology, psychoanalysis, theology, aesthetics, biography, children’s fables, etc. If anything unites the seemingly diverse work recorded below it is that I have tried to acquire a grasp of the nature of human reason and then apply this comprehension in practical contexts as simply and clearly as possible. Hence I have ended up following the path of Aristotle, as described in modern times (via Wittgenstein and John Wisdom) by Renford Bambrough. The 2004 public lecture in England, “Science, Religion, Art & the Necessity of Freedom”, also my 2017 “Is ‘Cambridge Philosophy’ dead, in Cambridge? Can it be resurrected, there? Case Study: Renford Bambrough (& Subroto Roy) preceded by decades Cheryl Misak’s thesis on Wittgenstein being linked with Peirce via Ramsey…”

may explain and illustrate all this best. A friend has been kind enough to call me an Academician, which I probably am, though one who really needs his own Academy because the incompetence, greed and mendacity encountered too often in the modern professoriat is dispiriting.

Besides writings and publications printed on paper, there are writings or items not printed on paper — as new media break space, cost and other constraints of traditional publishing. A little repetition and overlap has occurred too. Also in a few cases, e.g., Aldous Huxley’s essay on DH Lawrence, nothing has been done except discover and republish. Several databases have been created and released in the public interest, as have been some rare maps. There is also some biographical and autobiographical material. Several inconsequential errors remain in the text, which shall take time to be rectified as documents come to be rediscovered and collated.

1973

1. “Behavioural study of mus musculus”, Haileybury College, Supervised by J de C Ford-Robertson MA (Oxon). (Due to be published here 2010).

2. “Chemistry at Advanced & Special Level: Student Notes 1972-73” (Due to be published here 2010).

3. “Biology at Advanced & Special Level: Student Notes 1972-73”, (Due to be published here 2010).

4. “Physics at Advanced Level: Student Notes 1972-73”, (Due to be published here 2010).

5. “Revolution: theoria and praxis”, London, mimeo (Due to be published here 2010).

6. “Gandhi vs Marx”, London, mimeo (Due to be published here 2010).

1974

7. “Relevance of downward money-wage rigidity to the problem of maintaining full-employment in the classical and Keynesian models of income determination”, London School of Economics, mimeo (Due to be published here 2010).

8. “Testing aircraft fuels at Shell Finland”.

1975

9. “Oxford Street experiences: down and out in London town”.

10. “SE Region Bulk Distribution Survey”, Unilever, Basingstoke.

11. “Four London poems”, in JCM Paton (ed) New Writing (London, Great Portland Street: International Students House). (Due to be republished here 2010)

12. “On economic growth models and modellers”, London School of Economics, mimeo. (Due to be published here 2010).

1976

13. “World money: system or anarchy?”, lecture to Professor ACL Day’s seminar, London School of Economics, Economics Department, April. (Due to be published here 2010).

14. “A beginner’s guide to some recent developments in monetary theory”, lecture to Professor FH Hahn’s seminar, Cambridge University Economics Department, November 17 (Due to be published here 2010). See also “Announcement of My “Hahn Seminar”, published here June 14 2008.

1977

15. “Inflation and unemployment: a survey”, mimeo, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. (Due to be published here 2010).

16. “On short run theories of dual economies”, Cambridge University Economics Department “substantial piece of work” required of first year Research Students. Examiner: DMG Newbery, FBA. (Due to be published here 2010).

1978

17. “Pure theory of developing economies 1 and 2”, Delhi School of Economics mimeo (Due to be published here 2010).

18. “Introduction to some market outcomes under uncertainty”, Delhi School of Economics mimeo (Due to be published here 2010).

19. “On money and development”, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, mimeo, September. (Due to be published here 2010)

20. “Notes on the Newbery-Stiglitz model of sharecropping”, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, mimeo November. (Due to be published here 2010).

1979

21. “A theory of rights and economic justice”, Corpus Christi College Cambridge mimeo. (Due to be published here 2010).

22. “Monetary theory and economic development”, Corpus Christi College Cambridge, mimeo (Due to be published here 2010).

23. “Foundations of the case against ‘development planning’”, Corpus Christi College Cambridge, mimeo, November. (Due to be published here 2010).

1979-1989

24. Correspondence with Renford Bambrough (1926-1999), philosopher of St John’s College, Cambridge (Due to be published here 2010).

1980

25. “Models before the monetarist storm”, New Statesman letters

26. “Disciplining rulers and experts”, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, mimeo. (Due to be published here 2010).

1981

27. “On liberty & economic growth: preface to a philosophy for India”, Cambridge University doctoral thesis, supervisor FH Hahn, FBA; examiners CJ Bliss, FBA; TW Hutchison, FBA (Due to be published here 2010). 27a Response of FA Hayek on a partial draft February 18 1981. 27b Response of Peter Bauer, 1982. 27c Response of Theodore W Schultz, 1983. 27d. Response of Frank Hahn 1985.

1982

28. “Knowledge and freedom in economic theory Parts 1 and 2”, Centre for Study of Public Choice, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, Working Papers.

29. “Economic Theory and Development Economics”. Lecture to American Economic Association, New York, Dec 1982. Panel: RM Solow, HB Chenery, T Weisskopf, P Streeten, G Rosen, S Roy. Published in 29a.

1983

29a “Economic Theory and Development Economics: A Comment”. World Development, 1983. [Citation: Stavros Thefanides “Metamorphosis of Development Economics”, World Development 1988.]

30. “The Political Economy of Trade Policy (Comment on J. Michael Finger)”, Washington DC: Cato Journal, Winter 1983/84. See also 000 “Risk-aversion explains resistance to freer trade”, 2008.

1984

31. “Considerations on Utility, Benevolence and Taxation”, History of Political Economy, 1984. 31a Response of Professor Sir John Hicks May 1 1984.

[Citations: P. Hennipman, “A Tale of Two Schools”, De Economist 1987, “A New Look at the Ordinalist Revolution”, J. Econ. Lit. Mar 1988; P. Rappoport, “Reply to Professor Hennipman”, J. Econ. Lit. Mar 1988; Eugene Smolensky et al “An Application of A Dynamic Cost-of-Living Index to the Evaluation of Changes in Social Welfare”, J. Post-Keynesian Econ.IX.3. 1987.]

32. Pricing, Planning and Politics: A Study of Economic Distortions in India, London: Institute of Economic Affairs, London 1984.

[Citations: Lead editorial of The Times of London May 29 1984, “India’s economy”, Times letters June 16 1984. John Toye “Political Economy & Analysis of Indian Development”, Modern Asian Studies, 22, 1, 1988; John Toye, Dilemmas of Development; D. Wilson, “Privatization of Asia”, The Banker Sep. 1984 etc]. See also 370 “Silver Jubilee of ‘Pricing, Planning and Politics: A Study of Economic Distortions in India’” 2009.

33. Review of Utilitarianism and Beyond, Amartya Sen & Bernard Williams (eds) Public Choice.

34. Review of Limits of Utilitarianism, HB Miller & WH Williams (eds.), Public Choice.

35. Deendayal Upadhyaya lecture “On Government and the Individual in India” (one of four invited lecturers), Washington DC, October 1984.

1987

36. (with one other) “Does the Theory of Logical Types Inform the Theory of Communication?”, Journal of Genetic Psychology., 148 (4), Dec. 1987 [Citation:

37. “Irrelevance of Foreign Aid”, India International Centre Quarterly, Winter 1987.

38. Review of Development Planning by Sukhamoy Chakravarty for Economic Affairs, London 1987.

1988

39. (with Seiji Naya and Pearl Imada) “Introduction” to Lessons in Development: A Comparative Study of Asia and Latin America. San Francisco: Inst. of Economic Growth.

40. “A note on the welfare economics of regional cooperation”, lecture to Asia-Latin America conference, East West Center Honolulu, published 2009.

1989

41. Philosophy of Economics: On the Scope of Reason in Economic Inquiry, London & New York: Routledge (International Library of Philosophy) 1989, paperback 1991. Internet edition 2007. [Reviews & Citations: Research in Economics, 1992; De Economist 1991 & 1992; Manch.Sch. Econ.Studs. 59, 1991; Ethics 101.88 Jul. 1991; Kyklos 43.4 1990; Soc. Science Q. 71.880. Dec.1990; Can. Phil. Rev. 1990; J. Econ. Hist. Sep. 1990; Econ. & Phil. Fall 1990; Econ. Affairs June-July 1990; TLS May 1990; Choice March 1990; J. App.Phil. 1994, M. Blaug: Methodology of Economics, 2nd ed., Cambridge, 1992; Hist. Methods. 27.3, 1994; J. of Inst. & Theoretical Econ.,1994; Jahrbucker fur Nationaleconomie 1994, 573:574. Mark A Lutz in Economics for the Common Good, London: Routledge, 1999, et al]. See also 339 “Apropos Philosophy of Economics”, Comments of Sidney Hook, KJ Arrow, Milton Friedman, TW Schultz, SS Alexander, Max Black, Renford Bambrough, John Gray et al.

42. Foreword to Essays on the Political Economy by James M. Buchanan, Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press 1989.

43. “Modern Political Economy of India”, edited by Subroto Roy & William E James, Hawaii mimeo May 21 1989. This published for the first time a November 1955 memorandum to the Government of India by Milton Friedman. See also 43a, 53.

43a. Preface to “Milton Friedman’s extempore comments at the 1989 Hawaii conference: on India, Israel, Palestine, the USA, Debt and its uses, Erhardt abolishing exchange controls, Etc”, May 22 1989, published here for the first time October 31 2008.

44. Milton Friedman’s defence of my work in 1989.

45. Theodore W. Schultz’s defence of Philosophy of Economics

1990

46. “Letter to Judge Evelyn Lance: On A Case Study in Private International Law” (Due to be published here in 2010).

47-49. Selections from advisory work on economic policy etc for Rajiv Gandhi, Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of India, published in 47a-49a.

1991

41b Philosophy of Economics: On the Scope of Reason in Economic Inquiry, Paperback edition.

50. “Conversations and correspondence with Rajiv Gandhi during the Gulf war, January 1991” (Due to be published here 2010).

47a. A Memo to Rajiv I: Stronger Secular Middle”, The Statesman, Jul 31 1991.

48a “A Memo to Rajiv II: Saving India’s Prestige”, The Statesman, Aug 1 1991.

49a “A Memo to Rajiv III: Salvation in Penny Capitalism”, The Statesman, Aug 2 1991 47b-49b “Three Memoranda to Rajiv Gandhi 1990-91”, 2007 republication here.

51. “Constitution for a Second Indian Republic”, The Saturday Statesman, April 20 1991. Republished here 2009.

52. “On the Art of Government: Experts, Party, Cabinet and Bureaucracy”, New Delhi mimeo March 25 1991, published here July 00 2009.

1992

53. Foundations of India’s Political Economy: Towards an Agenda for the 1990s Edited and with an Introduction by Subroto Roy & William E. James New Delhi, London, Newbury Park: Sage: 1992. Citation: Milton and Rose Friedman Two Lucky People (Chicago 1998), pp. 268-269.

54. Foundations of Pakistan’s Political Economy: Towards an Agenda for the 1990s Edited and with an Introduction by William E. James & Subroto Roy, Hawaii MS 1989, Sage: 1992, Karachi: Oxford 1993.

Reviews of 53 & 54 include: Bus. Today, Mar-Apr 1992; Political Studies March 1995; Econ Times 21 March 1993; Pakistan Development Review 1992. Hindustan Times 11 July 1992. Pacific Affairs 1993; Hindu 21 March 1993, 15 June 1993; Pakistan News International 12 June 1993. Book Reviews March 1993; Deccan Herald 2 May 1993; Pol.Econ.J. Ind. 1992. Fin Express 13 September 1992; Statesman 16 Jan. 1993. J. Royal Soc Asian Aff. 1994, J. Contemporary Asia, 1994 etc.

55. “Fundamental Problems of the Economies of India and Pakistan”, World Bank, Washington, mimeo (Due to be published here 2010).

56.“The Road to Stagflation: The Coming Dirigisme in America, or, America, beware thy economists!, or Zen and Clintonomics,” Washington DC, Broad Branch Terrace, mimeo, November 17.

1993

57. “Exchange-rates and manufactured exports of South Asia”, IMF Washington DC mimeo. Published in part in 2007-2008 as 58-62:

58. “Path of the Indian Rupee 1947-1993”, 2008.

59. “Path of the Pakistan Rupee 1947-1993”, 2008.

60. “Path of the Sri Lankan Rupee 1948-1993”, 2008.

61. “Path of the Bangladesh Taka 1972-1993”, 2008.

62. “India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh Manufactured Exports, IMF Washington DC mimeo”, published 2007.

63. “Economic Assessment of US-India Merchandise Trade”, Arlington, Virginia, mimeo, published in slight part in Indo-US Trade & Economic Cooperation, ICRIER New Delhi, 1995, and in whole 2007.

64. “Towards an Economic Solution for Kashmir”, mimeo, Arlington, Virginia, circulated in Washington DC 1993-1995, cf 82, 111 infra. Comment of Selig Harrison.

1994

65. “Comment on Indonesia”, in The Political Economy of Policy Reform edited by John Williamson, Washington, DC: Institute for International Economics.

66a “Gold reserves & the gold price in anticipation of Central Bank behaviour”, Greenwich, Connecticut, mimeo. 67b. “Portfolio optimization and foreign currency exposure hedging” Greenwich, Connecticut mimeo.

1995

68. “On the logic and commonsense of debt and payments crises: How to avoid another Mexico in India and Pakistan”, Scarsdale, NY, mimeo, May 1.

69. “Policies for Young India”, Scarsdale, NY, pp. 350, manuscript.

1996

70. US Supreme Court documents, published in part in 2008 as “Become a US Supreme Court Justice!” 70a, 70b (Due to be published in full here in 2010 as Roy vs University of Hawaii, 1989- including the expert testimonies of Milton Friedman and Theodore W Schultz.).

71. “Key problems of macroeconomic management facing the new Indian Government”, May 17. Scarsdale, New York, mimeo. (Due to be published here 2010).

72. “Preventing a collapse of the rupee”, IIT Kharagpur lecture July 16 1996.

73. “The Economist’s Representation of Technological Knowledge”, Vishvesvaraya lecture to the Institution of Engineers, September 15 1996, IIT Kharagpur.

1997

74. “Union and State Budgets in India”, lecture at the World Bank, Washington DC, May 00.

75. “State Budgets in India”, IIT Kharagpur mimeo, June 6.

1998

76. “Transparency and Economic Policy-Making: An address to the Asia-Pacific Public Relations Conference” (panel on Transparency chaired by CR Irani) Jan 30 1998, published here 2008.

77. Theodore W. Schultz 1902-1998, Feb 25.

78. “The Economic View of Human Resources”, address to a regional conference on human resources, IIT Kharagpur.

79. “Management accounting”, lecture at Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy, Mussourie,

80a “The Original Reformer”, Outlook letters, Jan 23 1998

81. “Recent Developments in Modern Finance”, IIM Bangalore Review, 10, 1 & 2, Jan.-Jun 1998. Reprinted as “From the Management Guru’s Classroom”: 81a “An introduction to derivatives”, Business Standard/Financial Times, Bombay 18 Apr 1999; 81b “Options in the future, Apr 25 1999; 81c “What is hedging?”, May 2 1999; 81d “Teaching computers to think”, May 9 1999.

82. “Towards an Economic Solution for Kashmir”, Jun 22 1998, lecture at Heritage Foundation, Washington DC. Cf 111 Dec 2005.

83. “Sixteen Currencies for India: A Reverse Euro Model for Monetary & Fiscal Efficacy”, Lecture at the Institute of Economic Affairs, London, June 29 1998. Due to be published here 2010.

84. “Fable of the Fox, the Farmer, and the Would-Be Tailors”, October (Published here July 27 2009).

85. “A Common Man’s Guide to Pricing Financial Derivatives”, Lecture to “National Seminar on Derivatives”, Xavier Labour Research Institute, Jamshedpur, Dec. 16 1998. See 98.

1999

86. “An Analysis of Pakistan’s War-Winning Strategy: Are We Ready for This?”, IIT Kharagpur mimeo, published in part as 86a.“Was a Pakistani Grand Strategy Discerned in Time by India?” New Delhi: Security & Political Risk Analysis Bulletin, July 1999, Kargil issue. See also 000

80b. “The Original Reformer”, Outlook letters, Sep 13 1999.

2000

87. “On Freedom & the Scientific Point of View”, SN Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, Feb 17 2000. Cf 100 below.

88. “Liberalism and Indian economic policy”, lecture at IIM Calcutta, Indian Liberal Group Meetings Devlali, Hyderabad; also Keynote address to UGC Seminar Guntur, March 30 2002. (Due to be published here 2010).

89. “Towards a Highly Transparent Fiscal & Monetary Framework for India’s Union & State Governments”, Invited address to Conference of State Finance Secretaries, Reserve Bank of India, Bombay, April 29, 2000. Published 2008.

90. “On the Economics of Information Technology”, two lectures at the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore, Nov 10-11, 2000.

91. Review of A New World by Amit Chaudhuri in Literary Criterion, Mysore.

2001

92. Review of AD Shroff: Titan of Finance and Free Enterprise by Sucheta Dalal, Freedom First., January.

93. “Encounter with Rajiv Gandhi: On the Origins of the 1991 Economic Reform”, Freedom First, October. See also 93a in 2005 and 93b in 2007.

94. “A General Theory of Globalization & Modern Terrorism with Special Reference to September 11”, a keynote address to the Council for Asian Liberals & Democrats, Manila, Philippines, 16 Nov. 2001. Published as 91a.

95. “The Case for and against The Satanic Verses: Diatribe and Dialectic as Art”, Dec 22 republished in print 95a The Statesman Festival Volume, 2006.

2002

94a “A General Theory of Globalization & Modern Terrorism with Special Reference to September 11”, in September 11 & Political Freedom in Asia, eds. Johannen, Smith & Gomez, Singapore 2002.

2002-2010

96. “Recording vivid dreams: Freud’s advice in exploring the Unconscious Mind” (Due to be published here in 2010).

2003

97. “Key principles of government accounting and audit”, IIT Kharagpur mimeo.

98. “Derivative pricing & other topics in financial theory: a student’s complete lecture notes” (Due to be published here in 2010).

2004

99. TV Interview by BBC, Oxford, after May 2004 General Election in India.

100. “Collapse of the Global Conversation”, International Institute for Asian Studies, Leiden, Netherlands, Jul 2004.

101. “Science, Religion, Art & the Necessity of Freedom”, a public lecture, University of Buckingham, UK, August 24 2004. Published here 2007.

2005

93a Rajiv Gandhi and the Origins of India’s 1991 Economic Reform (this was the full story; it appeared in print for the first time in The Statesman Festival Volume 2007).

102. “Can India become an economic superpower (or will there be a monetary meltdown)?” Cardiff University Institute of Applied Macroeconomics Monetary Economics Seminar, April 13, Institute of Economic Affairs, London, April 27, Reserve Bank of India, Bombay, Chief Economist’s Seminar on Monetary Economics, May 5.

103. Margaret Thatcher’s Revolution: How it Happened and What it Meant, Edited and with an Introduction by Subroto Roy & John Clarke, London & New York: Continuum, 2005; paperback 2006; French translation by Florian Bay, 2007.

104. “Iqbal & Jinnah vs Rahmat Ali in Pakistan’s Creation”, Dawn, Karachi, Sep 3.

105. “The Mitrokhin Archives II from an Indian Perspective: A Review Article”, The Statesman, Perspective Page, Oct 11 .

106. “After the Verdict”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Oct 20.

107. “US Espionage Failures”, The Statesman, Perspective Page, Oct 26

108. “Waffle But No Models of Monetary Policy”, The Statesman, Perspective Page, Oct 30.

109. “On Hindus and Muslims”, The Statesman, Perspective Page, Nov 6.

110. “Assessing Vajpayee: Hindutva True and False”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Nov 13-14″.

111. “Fiction from the India Economic Summit”, The Statesman, Front Page, Nov 29.

112. “Solving Kashmir: On an Application of Reason”, The Statesman Editorial Page

I. “Give the Hurriyat et al Indian Green Cards”, Dec 1

II. “Choice of Nationality under Full Information”, Dec 2

III. “Of Flags and Consulates in Gilgit etc”, Dec 3.

2006

113. “The Dream Team: A Critique”, The Statesman Editorial Page

I : New Delhi’s Consensus (Manmohantekidambaromics), Jan 6

II: Money, Convertibility, Inflationary Deficit Financing, Jan 7

III: Rule of Law, Transparency, Government Accounting, Jan 8.

114. “Unaccountable Delhi: India’s Separation of Powers’ Doctrine”, The Statesman, Jan 13.

115. “Communists and Constitutions”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Jan 22.

116. “Diplomatic Wisdom”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Jan 31.

117. “Mendacity & the Government Budget Constraint”, The Statesman, Front Page Feb 3.

118. “Of Graven Images”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Feb5.

119. “Separation of Powers, Parts 1-2”, The Statesman, Editorial Pages Feb 12-13.

120. “Public Debt, Government Fantasy”, The Statesman, Front Page Editorial Comment, Feb 22.

121. “War or Peace Parts 1-2”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Feb 23-24.

122. “Can You Handle This Brief, Mr Chidambaram?” The Statesman, Front Page Feb 26.

123. “A Downpayment On the Taj Mahal Anyone?”, The Statesman, Front Page Comment on the Budget 2006-2007, Mar 1.

124. “Atoms for Peace (or War)”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page Mar 5.

125. “Imperialism Redux: Business, Energy, Weapons & Foreign Policy”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Mar 14.

126. “Logic of Democracy”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Mar 30.

127. “Towards an Energy Policy”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Apr 2.

128. “Iran’s Nationalism”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Apr 6.

129. “A Modern Military”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Apr 16.

130. “On Money & Banking”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Apr 23.

131. “Lessons for India from Nepal’s Revolution”, The Statesman, Front Page Apr 26.

132. “Revisionist Flattery (Inder Malhotra’s Indira Gandhi: A Review Article)”, The Sunday Statesman, May 7.

133. “Modern World History”, The Sunday Statesman Editorial Page, May 7.

134. “Argumentative Indians: A Conversation with Professor Amartya Sen on Philosophy, Identity and Islam,” The Sunday Statesman, May 14 2006. “A Philosophical Conversation between Professor Sen and Dr Roy”, 2008. Translated into Bengali by AA and published in 00.

135. “The Politics of Dr Singh”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, May 21.

136. “Corporate Governance & the Principal-Agent Problem”, lecture at a conference on corporate governance, Kolkata May 31. Published here 2008.

137. “Pakistan’s Allies Parts 1-2”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Jun 4-5.

138. “Law, Justice and J&K Parts 1-2”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Jul 2, The Statesman Editorial Page Jul 3.

139. “The Greatest Pashtun (Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan)”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Jul 16.

140. “Understanding Pakistan Parts 1-2”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Jul 30, The Statesman Editorial Page Jul 31.

141. “Indian Money and Credit”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Aug 6.

142. “India’s Moon Mission”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Aug 13.

143. “Jaswant’s Journeyings: A Review Article”, The Sunday Statesman Magazine, Aug 27.

144. “Our Energy Interests, Parts 1-2”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Aug 27, The Statesman Editorial Page Aug 28.

145. “Is Balochistan Doomed?”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Sep 3 2006.

146. “Racism New and Old”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Sep 8 2006

147. “Political Economy of India’s Energy Policy”, address to KAF-TERI conference, Goa Oct 7, published in 147a.

148. “New Foreign Policy? Seven phases of Indian foreign policy may be identifiable since Nehru”, Parts 1-2, The Sunday Statesman, Oct 8, The Statesman Oct 9.

149. “Justice & Afzal: There is a difference between law and equity (or natural justice). The power of pardon is an equitable power. Commuting a death-sentence is a partial pardon”, The Sunday Statesman Editorial Page Oct 14

150. “Non-existent liberals (On a Liberal Party for India)”, The Sunday Statesman Editorial Page Oct 22.

151. “History of Jammu & Kashmir Parts 1-2”, The Sunday Statesman, Oct 29, The Statesman Oct 30, Editorial Page.

152. “American Democracy: Does America need a Prime Minister and a longer-lived Legislature?”, The Sunday Statesman Nov 5.

153. “Milton Friedman A Man of Reason 1912-2006”, The Statesman Perspective Page, Nov 22.

154. “Postscript to Milton Friedman Mahalanobis’s Plan (The Mahalanobis-Nehru “Second Plan”) The Statesman Front Page Nov 22.

155. “Mob Violence and Psychology”, Dec 10, The Statesman, Editorial Page.

156. “What To Tell Musharraf: Peace Is Impossible Without Non-Aggressive Pakistani Intentions”, The Statesman Editorial Page Dec 15.

157. “Land, Liberty and Value: Government must act in good faith treating all citizens equally – not favouring organised business lobbies and organised labour over an unorganised peasantry”, The Sunday Statesman Editorial Page Dec 31.

2007

158. “Hypocrisy of the CPI-M: Political Collapse In Bengal: A Mid-Term Election/Referendum Is Necessary”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Jan 9.

159. “On Land-Grabbing: Dr Singh’s India, Buddhadeb’s Bengal, Modi’s Gujarat have notorious US, Soviet and Chinese examples to follow ~ distracting from the country’s real economic problems,” The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page Jan 14.

160. “India’s Macroeconomics: Real growth has steadily occurred because India has shared the world’s technological progress. But bad fiscal, monetary policies over decades have led to monetary weakness and capital flight” The Statesman Editorial Page Jan 20.

161. “Fiscal Instability: Interest payments quickly suck dry every year’s Budget. And rolling over old public debt means that Government Borrowing in fact much exceeds the Fiscal Deficit”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Feb 4.

162. “Our trade and payments Parts 1-2” (“India in World Trade and Payments”),The Sunday Statesman, Feb 11 2007, The Statesman, Feb 12 2007.

163. “Our Policy Process: Self-Styled “Planners” Have Controlled India’s Paper Money For Decades,” The Statesman, Editorial Page, Feb 20.

164. “Bengal’s Finances”, The Sunday Statesman Editorial Page, Feb 25.

165. “Fallacious Finance: Congress, BJP, CPI-M may be leading India to Hyperinflation” The Statesman Editorial Page Mar 5.

166. “Uttar Pradesh Polity and Finance: A Responsible New Govt May Want To Declare A Financial Emergency” The Statesman Editorial Page, Mar 24

167. “A scam in the making” in The Sunday Statesman Front Page Apr 1 2007, published here in full as “Swindling India”.

168. “Maharashtra’s Money: Those Who Are Part Of The Problem Are Unlikely To Be A Part Of Its Solution”, The Statesman Editorial Page Apr 24.

147a. “Political Economy of Energy Policy” in India and Energy Security edited by Anant Sudarshan and Ligia Noronha, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, New Delhi 2007.

169. “Presidential Qualities: Simplicity, Genuine Achievement Are Desirable; Political Ambition Is Not”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, May 8.

170. “We & Our Neighbours: Pakistanis And Bangladeshis Would Do Well To Learn From Sheikh Abdullah”, The Statesman, Editorial Page May 15.

171. “On Indian Nationhood: From Tamils To Kashmiris And Assamese And Mizos To Sikhs And Goans”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, May 25.

172. A Current Example of the Working of the Unconscious Mind, May 26.

173. Where I would have gone if I was Osama Bin Laden, May 31.

174. “US election ’08:America’s Presidential Campaign Seems Destined To Be Focussed On Iraq”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, June 1.

175. “Home Team Advantage: On US-Iran talks and Sunni-Shia subtleties: Tehran must transcend its revolution and endorse the principle that the House of Islam has many mansions”, The Sunday Statesman Editorial Page, June 3

176. “Unhealthy Delhi: When will normal political philosophy replace personality cults?”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, June 11.

177. “American Turmoil: A Vice-Presidential Coup – And Now a Grassroots Counterrevolution?”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, June 18

178. “Political Paralysis: India has yet to develop normal conservative, liberal and socialist parties. The Nice-Housing-Effect and a little game-theory may explain the current stagnation”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, June 24.

179. “Has America Lost? War Doctrines Of Kutusov vs Clausewitz May Help Explain Iraq War”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, July 3.

180. “Lal Masjid ≠ Golden Temple: Wide differences are revealed between contemporary Pakistan and India by these two superficially similar military assaults on armed religious civilians”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page July 15

181. “Political Stonewalling: Only Transparency Can Improve Institutions”, The Statesman, Editorial Page July 20.

182. “Gold standard etc: Fixed versus flexible exchange rates”, July 21.

183. “US Pakistan-India Policy: Delhi & Islamabad Still Look West In Defining Their Relationship”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, July 27.

184. “Works of DH Lawrence” July 30

185. “An Open Letter to Professor Amartya Sen about Singur etc”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, July 31.

186. “Martin Buber on Palestine and Israel (with Postscript)”, Aug 4.

187. “Auguste Rodin on Nature, Art, Beauty, Women and Love”, Aug 7.

188. “Saving Pakistan: A Physicist/Political Philosopher May Represent Iqbal’s “Spirit of Modern Times”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Aug 13.

189. Letter to Forbes.com 16 Aug.

190. “Need for Clarity: A poorly drafted treaty driven by business motives is a recipe for international misunderstanding”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Aug 19.

191. “No Marxist MBAs? An amicus curiae brief for the Hon’ble High Court”, The Statesman, FrontPage, Aug 29.

192. On Lawrence, Sep 4.

193. Dalai Lama’s Return: In the tradition of Gandhi, King, Mandela, Sep 11.

194. Of JC Bose, Patrick Geddes & the Leaf-World, Sep 12.

195. “Against Quackery: Manmohan and Sonia have violated Rajiv Gandhi’s intended reforms; the Communists have been appeased or bought; the BJP is incompetent Parts 1-2”, in The Sunday Statesman and The Statesman, Editorial Pages of Sep 23-24.

196. Karl Georg Zinn’s 1994 Review of Philosophy of Economics, Sep 26.

197. DH Lawrence’s Phoenix, Oct 3.

93b. “Rajiv Gandhi and the Origins of India’s 1991 Economic Reform”, Statesman Festival Volume.

198. “Iran, America, Iraq: Bush’s post-Saddam Saddamism — one flip-flop too many?”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Oct 16.

199. “Understanding China: The World Needs to Ask China to Find Her True Higher Self”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Oct 22.

200. “India-USA interests: Elements of a serious Indian foreign policy”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Oct 30.

201. “China’s India Aggression : German Historians Discover Logic Behind Communist Military Strategy”, The Statesman, Editorial Page Special Article, Nov 5.

202. Sonia’s Lying Courtier (with Postscript), Nov 25. See also 2014

203. “Surrender or Fight? War is not a cricket match or Bollywood movie. Can India fight China if it must?” The Statesman, Dec 4, Editorial Page.

204. Hutton and Desai: United in Error Dec 14

205. “China’s Commonwealth: Freedom is the Road to Resolving Taiwan, Tibet, Sinkiang”, The Statesman, Dec 17.

2008

206. “Nixon & Mao vs India: How American foreign policy did a U-turn about Communist China’s India aggression. The Government of India should publish its official history of the 1962 war.” The Sunday Statesman, Jan 6, The Statesman Jan 7 Editorial Page.

207. “Lessons from the 1962 War: Beginnings of a solution to the long-standing border problem: there are distinct Tibetan, Chinese and Indian points of view that need to be mutually comprehended”, The Sunday Statesman, January 13 2008.

208. “Our Dismal Politics: Will Independent India Survive Until 2047?”, The Statesman Editorial Page, Feb 1.

209. Median Voter Model of India’s Electorate Feb 7.

210. “Anarchy in Bengal: Intra-Left bandh marks the final unravelling of “Brand Buddha””, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Feb 10.

211. Fifty years since my third birthday: on life and death.

212. “Pakistan’s Kashmir obsession: Sheikh Abdullah Relied In Politics On The French Constitution, Not Islam”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Feb 16.

213. A Note on the Indian Policy Process Feb 21.

214. “Growth & Government Delusion: Progress Comes From Learning, Enterprise, Exchange, Not The Parasitic State”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Feb 22.

215. “How to Budget: Thrift, Not Theft, Needs to Guide Our Public Finances”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Feb 26.

216. “India’s Budget Process (in Theory)”, The Statesman, Front Page Feb 29.

217. “Irresponsible Governance: Congress, BJP, Communists, BSP, Sena Etc Reveal Equally Bad Traits”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, March 4.

218. “American Politics: Contest Between Obama And Clinton Affects The World”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, March 11.

219. “China’s India Example: Tibet, Xinjiang May Not Be Assimilated Like Inner Mongolia And Manchuria”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, March 25.

220. “Taxation of India’s Professional Cricket: A Proposal”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, April 1.

221. “Two cheers for Pakistan!”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, April 7.

222. “Indian Inflation: Upside Down Economics From The New Delhi Establishment Parts 1-2”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, April 15-16.

223. “Assessing Manmohan: The Doctor of Deficit Finance should realise the currency is at stake”, The Statesman, Editorial Page Apr 25.

224. John Wisdom, Renford Bambrough: Main Philosophical Works, May 8.

225. “All India wept”: On the death of Rajiv Gandhi, May 21.

226. “China’s force and diplomacy: The need for realism in India” The Statesman, Editorial Page May 31.

227. Serendipity and the China-Tibet-India border problem June 6

228. “Leadership vacuum: Time & Tide Wait For No One In Politics: India Trails Pakistan & Nepal!”, The Statesman Editorial Page June 7.

229. My meeting Jawaharlal Nehru Oct13 1962

230. Manindranath Roy 1891-1958

231. Surendranath Roy 1860-1929

232. The Roys of Behala 1928.

233. Sarat Chandra visits Surendranath Roy 1927

234. Nuksaan-Faida Analysis = Cost-Benefit Analysis in Hindi/Urdu Jun 30

235. One of many reasons John R Hicks was a great economist July 3

236. My father, Indian diplomat, in the Shah’s Tehran 1954-57 July 8

237 Distribution of Govt of India Expenditure (Net of Operational Income) 1995 July 27

238. Growth of Real Income, Money & Prices in India 1869-2008, July 28.

239. Communism from Social Democracy? But not in India or China! July 29

240. Death of Solzhenitsyn, Aug. 3

240a. Tolstoy on Science and Art, Aug 4.

241. “Reddy’s reckoning: Where should India’s real interest rate be relative to the world?” Business Standard Aug 10

242. “Rangarajan Effect”, Business Standard Aug 24

243. My grandfather’s death in Ottawa 50 years ago today Sep 3

244. My books in the Library of Congress and British Library Sep 12

245. On Jimmy Carter & the “India-US Nuclear Deal”, Sep 12

246. My father after presenting his credentials to President Kekkonen of Finland Sep 14 1973.

247. “October 1929? Not!”, Business Standard, Sep 18.

248. “MK Gandhi, SN Roy, MA Jinnah in March 1919: Primary education legislation in a time of protest”

249. 122 sensible American economists Sept 26

250. Govt of India: Please call in the BBC and ask them a question Sep 27

251. “Monetary Integrity and the Rupee: Three British Raj relics have dominated our macroeconomic policy-making” Business Standard Sep 28.

252a. Rabindranath’s daughter writes to her friend my grandmother Oct 5

252b. A Literary Find: Modern Poetry in Bengal, Oct 6.

253. Sarat writes to Manindranath 1931, Oct 12

254. Origins of India’s Constitutional Politics 1913

255. Indira Gandhi in Paris, 1971

256. How the Liabilities/Assets Ratio of Indian Banks Changed from 84% in 1970 to 108% in 1998, October 20

257a. My Subjective Probabilities on India’s Moon Mission Oct 21

258. Complete History of Mankind’s Moon Missions: An Indian Citizen’s Letter to ISRO’s Chairman, Oct 22.

259. Would not a few million new immigrants solve America’s mortgage crisis? Oct 26

260. “America’s divided economists”, Business Standard Oct 26

261. One tiny prediction about the Obama Administration, Nov 5

262. Rai Bahadur Umbika Churn Rai, 1827-1902, Nov 7 2008

263. Jawaharlal Nehru invites my father to the Mountbatten Farewell Nov 7 2008

70a. “Become a US Supreme Court Justice! (Explorations in the Rule of Law in America) Preface” Nov 9

70b. “Become a US Supreme Court Justice! (Explorations in the Rule of Law in America)” Nov 9.

257b. Neglecting technological progress was the basis of my pessimism about Chandrayaan, Nov 9.

264. Of a new New Delhi myth and the success of the University of Hawaii 1986-1992 Pakistan project Nov 15

265. Pre-Partition Indian Secularism Case-Study: Fuzlul Huq and Manindranath Roy Nov 16

266. Do President-elect Obama’s Pakistan specialists suppose Maulana Azad, Dr Zakir Hussain, Sheikh Abdullah were Pakistanis (or that Sheikh Mujib wanted to remain one)? Nov 18

267. Jews have never been killed in India for being Jews until this sad day, Nov 28.

268. In international law, Pakistan has been the perpetrator, India the victim of aggression in Mumbai, Nov 30.

269. The Indian Revolution, Dec 1.

270Habeas Corpus: a captured terrorist mass-murderer tells a magistrate he has not been mistreated by Mumbai’s police Dec 3

271. India’s Muslim Voices (Or, Let us be clear the Pakistan-India or Kashmir conflicts have not been Muslim-Hindu conflicts so much as intra-Muslim conflicts about Muslim identity and self-knowledge on the Indian subcontinent), Dec 4

272. “Anger Management” needed? An Oxford DPhil recommends Pakistan launch a nuclear first strike against India within minutes of war, Dec 5.

273. A Quick Comparison Between the September 11 2001 NYC-Washington attacks and the November 26-28 2008 Mumbai Massacres (An Application of the Case-by-Case Philosophical Technique of Wittgenstein, Wisdom and Bambrough), Dec 6

274. Dr Rice finally gets it right (and maybe Mrs Clinton will too) Dec 7

275. Will the Government of India’s new macroeconomic policy dampen or worsen the business-cycle (if such a cycle exists at all)? No one knows! “Where ignorance is bliss, ‘Tis folly to be wise.” Dec 7

276. Pump-priming for car-dealers: Keynes groans in his grave (If evidence was needed of the intellectual dishonesty of New Delhi’s new macroeconomic policy, here it is) Dec 9.

277. Congratulations to Mumbai’s Police: capturing a terrorist, affording him his Habeas Corpus rights, getting him to confess within the Rule of Law, sets a new world standard Dec 10

278. Two cheers — wait, let’s make that one cheer — for America’s Justice Department, Dec 10

279. Will Pakistan accept the bodies of nine dead terrorists who came from Pakistan to Mumbai? If so, let there be a hand-over at the Wagah border, Dec 11.

280. Kasab was a stupid, ignorant, misguided youth, manufactured by Pakistan’s terrorist masterminds into becoming a mass-murdering robot: Mahatma Gandhi’s India should punish him, get him to repent if he wishes, then perhaps rehabilitate him as a potent weapon against Pakistani terrorism Dec 12.

281. Pakistan’s New Delhi Embassy should ask for “Consular Access” to nine dead terrorists in a Mumbai morgue before asking to meet Kasab, Dec 13

282. An Indian Reply to President Zardari: Rewarding Pakistan for bad behaviour leads to schizophrenic relationships Dec 19

283. Is my prediction about Caroline Kennedy becoming US Ambassador to Britain going to be correct? Dec 27

284. Chandrayaan adds a little good cheer! Well done, ISRO!, Dec 28

285. How sad that “Slumdog millionaire” is SO disappointing! Dec 31

289. (with Claude Arpi) “Transparency & history: India’s archives must be opened to world standards” Business Standard New Delhi Dec 31, 2008, published here Jan 1 .

2009

290. A basis of India-Pakistan cooperation on the Mumbai massacres: the ten Pakistani terrorists started off as pirates and the Al-Huseini is a pirate ship Jan 1.

291. India’s “pork-barrel politics” needs a nice (vegetarian) Hindi name! “Teli/oily politics” perhaps? (And are we next going to see a Bill of Rights for Lobbyists?) Jan 3

292. My (armchair) experience of the 1999 Kargil war (Or, “Actionable Intelligence” in the Internet age: How the Kargil effort got a little help from a desktop) Jan 5

293. How Jammu & Kashmir’s Chief Minister Omar Abdullah can become a worthy winner of the Nobel Peace Prize: An Open Letter, Jan 7

294. Could the Satyam/PwC fraud be the visible part of an iceberg? Where are India’s “Generally Accepted Accounting Principles”? Isn’t governance rather poor all over corporate India? Bad public finance may be a root cause Jan 8

295. Satyam does not exist: it is bankrupt, broke, kaput. Which part of this does the new “management team” not get? The assets belong to Satyam’s creditors. Jan 8

296. Jews are massacred in Mumbai and now Jews commit a massacre in Gaza! Jan 9

297. And now for the Great Satyam Whitewash/Cover-Up/Public Subsidy! The wrong Minister appoints the wrong new Board who, probably, will choose the wrong policy Jan 12

298. Letter to Wei Jingsheng Jan 14

299. Memo to the Hon’ble Attorneys General of Pakistan & India: How to jointly prosecute the Mumbai massacre perpetrators most expeditiously Jan 16

300. Satyam and IT-firms in general may be good candidates to become “Labour-Managed” firms Jan 18

301. “Yes we might be able to do that. Perhaps we ought to. But again, perhaps we ought not to, let me think about it…. Most important is Cromwell’s advice: Think it possible we may be mistaken!” Jan 20.

302. RAND’s study of the Mumbai attacks Jan 25

303. Didn’t Dr Obama (the new American President’s late father) once publish an article in Harvard’s Quarterly Journal of Economics? (Or did he?) Jan 25.

304. “A Dialogue in Macroeconomics” 1989 etc: sundry thoughts on US economic policy discourse Jan 30

305. American Voices: A Brief Popular History of the United States in 20 You-Tube Music Videos Feb 5

306. Jaladhar Sen writes to Manindranath at Surendranath’s death, Feb 23

307. Pakistani expansionism: India and the world need to beware of “Non-Resident Pakistanis” ruled by Rahmat Ali’s ghost, Feb 9

308. My American years Part One 1980-90: battles for academic integrity & freedom Feb 11.

309. Thanks and well done Minister Rehman Malik and the Govt of Pakistan Feb 12

310. Can President Obama resist the financial zombies (let alone slay them)? His economists need to consult Dr Anna J Schwartz Feb 14

311. A Brief History of Gilgit, Feb 18

312. Memo to UCLA Geographers: Commonsense suggests Mr Bin Laden is far away from the subcontinent Feb 20

313. The BBC gets its history and geography deliberately wrong again Feb 21

314. Bengal Legislative Council 1921, Feb 28

315. Carmichael visits Surendranath, 1916, Mar 1

316. Memo to GoI CLB: India discovered the Zero, and 51% of Zero is still Zero Mar 10

317. An Academic Database of Doctoral & Other Postgraduate Research Done at UK Universities on India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Other Asian Countries Over 100 Years, Mar 13

318. Pakistan’s progress, Mar 18

319. Risk-aversion explains resistance to free trade, Mar 19

320. India’s incredibly volatile inflation rate! Mar 20

321. Is “Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona” referring to an emasculation of (elite) American society?, Mar 21

322. Just how much intellectual fraud can Delhi produce? Mar 26

323. India is not a monarchy! We urgently need to universalize the French concept of “citoyen”! Mar 28

324. Could this be the real state of some of our higher education institutions? Mar 29

325. Progress! The BBC retracts its prevarication! Mar 30

326. Aldous Huxley’s Essay “DH Lawrence” Mar 31

327. Waffle not institutional reform is what (I predict) the “G-20 summit” will produce, April 1

328. Did a full cricket team of Indian bureaucrats follow our PM into 10 Downing Street? Count for yourself! April 3

329. Will someone please teach the BJP’s gerontocracy some Economics 101 on an emergency basis? April 5

330. The BBC needs to determine exactly where it thinks Pakistan is!, April 5

331. Alfred Lyall on Christians, Muslims, India, China, Etc, 1908, April 6

332. An eminent economist of India passes away April 9

333. Democracy Database for the Largest Electorate Ever Seen in World History, April 12

334. Memo to the Election Commission of India April 14 2009, 9 AM, April 14

335. Caveat emptor! Satyam is taken over, April 14

336. India’s 2009 General Elections: Candidates, Parties, Symbols for Polls on 16-30 April Phases 1,2,3, April 15

337. On the general theory of expertise in democracy: reflections on what emerges from the American “torture memos” today, April 18

338. India’s 2009 General Elections: 467 constituencies (out of 543) for which candidates have been announced as of 1700hrs April 21, April 21

339. Apropos Philosophy of Economics, Comments of Sidney Hook, KJ Arrow, Milton Friedman, TW Schultz, SS Alexander, Max Black, Renford Bambrough, John Gray et al., April 22.

340. India’s 2009 General Elections: Names of all 543 Constituencies of the 15th Lok Sabha, April 22.

341. India’s 2009 General Elections: How 4125 State Assembly Constituencies comprise the 543 new Lok Sabha Constituencies, April 23.

342. Why has America’s “torture debate” yet to mention the obvious? Viz., sadism and racism, April 24

343. India’s 2009 General Elections: the advice of the late “George Eliot” (Mary Ann Evans, 1819-1880) to India’s voting public, April 24.

344. India’s 2009 General Elections: Delimitation and the Different Lists of 543 Lok Sabha Constituencies in 2009 and 2004, April 25

345. Is “Slumdog Millionaire” the single worst Best Picture ever?

346. India’s 2009 General Elections: Result of Delimitation — Old (2004) and New (2009) Lok Sabha and Assembly Constituencies, April 26

347. India’s 2009 General Elections: 7019 Candidates in 485 (out of 543) Constituencies announced as of April 26 noon April 26

348. What is Christine Fair referring to? Would the MEA kindly seek to address what she has claimed asap? April 27

349. Politics can be so entertaining 🙂 Manmohan versus Sonia on the poor old CPI(M)!, April 28

350. A Dozen Grown-Up Questions for Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, LK Advani, Sharad Pawar, Km Mayawati and Anyone Else Dreaming of Becoming/Deciding India’s PM After the 2009 General Elections, April 28

351. India’s 2009 General Elections: How drastically will the vote-share of political parties change from 2004? May 2

352. India’s 2009 General Elections: And now finally, all 8,070 Candidates across all 543 Lok Sabha Constituencies, May 5

353. India’s 2009 General Elections: The Mapping of Votes into Assembly Segments Won into Parliamentary Seats Won in the 2004 Election, May 7

354. Will Messrs Advani, Rajnath Singh & Modi ride into the sunset if the BJP comes to be trounced? (Corrected), May 10

355. India’s 2009 General Elections: 543 Matrices to Help Ordinary Citizens Audit the Election Commission’s Vote-Tallies May 12

356. Well done Sonia-Rahul! Two hours before polls close today, I am willing to predict a big victory for you (but, please, try to get your economics right, and also, you must get Dr Singh a Lok Sabha seat if he is to be PM) May 13

357. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee must dissolve the West Bengal Assembly if he is an honest democrat: Please try to follow Gerard Schröder’s example even slightly! May 16

358. India’s 2009 General Elections: Provisional Results from the EC as of 1400 hours Indian Standard Time May 16

359. Memo to the Hon’ble President of India: It is Sonia Gandhi, not Manmohan Singh, who should be invited to our equivalent of the “Kissing Hands” Ceremony May 16

360. Time for heads to roll in the BJP/RSS and CPI(M)!, May 17.

361. Inviting a new Prime Minister of India to form a Government: Procedure Right and Wrong May 18

362. Starting with Procedural Error: Why has the “Cabinet” of the 14th Lok Sabha been meeting today AFTER the results of the Elections to the 15th Lok Sabha have been declared?! May 18

363. Why has the Sonia Congress done something that the Congress under Nehru-Indira-Rajiv would not have done, namely, exaggerate the power of the Rajya Sabha and diminish the power of the Lok Sabha? May 21

364. Shouldn’t Dr Singh’s Cabinet begin with a small apology to the President of India for discourtesy? May we have reviews and reforms of protocols and practices to be followed at Rashtrapati Bhavan and elsewhere? May 23

365. Parliament’s sovereignty has been diminished by the Executive: A record for future generations to know May 25

366. How tightly will organised Big Business be able to control economic policies this time? May 26

367. Why does India not have a Parliament ten days after the 15th Lok Sabha was elected? Nehru and Rajiv would both have been appalled May 27

368. Eleven days and counting after the 15th Lok Sabha was elected and still no Parliament of India! (But we do have 79 Ministers — might that be a world record?) May 28

369. Note to Posterity: 79 Ministers in office but no 15th Lok Sabha until June 1 2009! May 29

370. Silver Jubilee of Pricing, Planning & Politics: A Study of Economic Distortions in India May 29

371. How to Design a Better Cabinet for the Government of India May 29

372. Parliament is supposed to control the Government, not be bullied or intimidated by it: Will Rahul Gandhi be able to lead the Backbenches in the 15th Lok Sabha? June 1

373. Mistaken Macroeconomics: An Open Letter to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, June 12

374. Why did Manmohan Singh and LK Advani apologise to one another? Is Indian politics essentially collusive, not competitive, aiming only to preserve and promote the post-1947 Dilli Raj at the expense of the whole of India? We seem to have no Churchillian repartee (except perhaps from Bihar occasionally) June 18

375. Are Iran’s Revolutionaries now Reactionaries? George Orwell would have understood. A fresh poll may be the only answer Are Iran’s Revolutionaries now Reactionaries? George Orwell would have understood. A fresh poll may be the only answer June 22

376. My March 25 1991 memo to Rajiv (which never reached him) is something the present Government seems to have followed: all for the best of course! July 12

377. Disquietude about France’s behaviour towards India on July 14 2009 July 14

378. Does the Govt. of India assume “foreign investors and analysts” are a key constituency for Indian economic policy-making? If so, why so? Have Govt. economists “learnt nothing, forgotten everything”? Some Bastille Day thoughts July 14

379. Letter to the GoI’s seniormost technical economist, May 21.July 19

380. Excuse me but young Kasab in fact confessed many months ago, immediately after he was captured – he deserves 20 or 30 years in an Indian prison, and a chance to become a model prisoner who will stand against the very terrorists who sent him on his vile mission July 20

381. Finally, three months late, the GoI responds to American and Pakistani allegations about Balochistan July 24

382. Thoughts, words, deeds: My work 1973-2010

2012

383.  Life of my father 1915-2012

384. India’s Money” in the Cayman Financial Review, July 2012

385. Towards Making the Indian Rupee a Hard Currency of the World Economy: An analysis from British times until the present day, lecture at India International Centre, Delhi, 3 Dec 2012

386. 5 December 2012 interview by Mr Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, on Lok Sabha TV, the channel of India’s Lower House of Parliament, broadcast for the first time on 9 December 2012 on Lok Sabha TV, is here and here  in two parts.

387. Interview by GDI Impuls banking quarterly of  Zürich  published on 6 Dec 2012 is here.

388. My interview by Ragini Bhuyan of Delhi’s Sunday Guardian published on 16 Dec 2012  is here.

2013

389. “I have a student called Suby Roy…”: Reflections on Frank Hahn (1925-2013), my master in economic theory

390. Cambridge Economics & the Disputation in India’s Economic Policy, Revised 15 July 2013

391. Critical assessment dated 19 August 2013 of Raghuram Rajan is here (Live Mint 19 Aug) and here

392.  “Did Jagdish Bhagwati “originate”, “pioneer”, “intellectually father” India’s 1991 economic reform? Did Manmohan Singh? Or did I, through my encounter with Rajiv Gandhi, just as Siddhartha Shankar Ray told Manmohan & his aides in Sep 1993 in Washington? Judge the evidence for yourself. And why has Amartya Sen misdescribed his work? India’s right path forward today remains what I said in my 3 Dec 2012 Delhi lecture! 23 August 2013 here

393. My Recent Works, Interviews etc on India’s Money, Public Finance, Banking, Trade, BoP, Land, etc (an incomplete list) Nov 23, 2013

2014

394.  1) My 13 Sep 2019 Advice to PM Modi’s Adviser: Let PM address each State Legislature, get all India Govt Accounting & Public Decision Making to have integrity (2) 16 May 2014 Advice from Rajiv Gandhi’s Adviser to Narendra Modi: Do not populate the “Planning Commission” with worthies, scrap it, integrate its assets with the Treasury. And get the nationalised banks & RBI out of the Treasury. Tell them to read my 3 Dec 2012 Delhi lecture with care. Clean Government Accounting & Audit is the Key to Clean Public Finances & a Proper Indian Currency for the First Time Ever May 16, 2014. 

395.  “On India’s Education Policy”, published as “Mrs Irani’s New Job”/”Task Cut Out For Smriti Irani”  http://www.newindianexpress.com/opinion/Task-Cut-Out-for-Smriti-Irani/2014/06/16/article2282316.ece

396. Much as I might love Russia, England, France, America, I despise their spies & local agents affecting poor India’s policies: Memo to PM Modi, Mr Jaitley, Mr Doval & the new Govt. of India: Beware of Delhi’s sleeper agents, lobbyists & other dalals

397. “Haksar, Manmohan and Sonia” New Indian Express http://t.co/bRnQI1hrwy

2015

398.  Free India’s Foreign Policy & Economy in One Chart: Weapons Imports 1950-2013 by Country of Origin

399.  Delhi can never be improved — until the rest of India improves! February 13, 2015

400. Pakistan’s & India’s Illusions of Power (Psychosis vs Vanity) March 3, 2015

401.  How the India-Bangladesh Enclaves Problem Was Jump-Started in 2007 Towards its 2015 Solution: A Case Study of Academic Impact on Policy June 8, 2015

402.  On being reunited with Arrow Hahn after a dozen years July 3, 2015

403.  Fixing Washington: On Improving Institutional Design in the United States November 24, 2016

404.  Modi & Monetary Theory: Economic Consequences of the Prime Minister of India December 9, 2016.

405.  Physics & Reasoning (An Ongoing Tract) by Subroto Roy DRAFT 01.12.2017 September 26, 2017

406. Is “Cambridge Philosophy” dead, in Cambridge? Can it be resurrected, there? Case Study: Renford Bambrough (& Subroto Roy) preceded by decades Cheryl Misak’s thesis on Wittgenstein being linked with Peirce via Ramsey… October 27, 2017

407. S N Roy hears from Lytton: A 1922 case of British imperial racism in Indian governance (with lessons for today) [Draft text 12 August 2018] February 8, 2018

408.  Solving a Problem of State Tyranny: Director General Siddhanta Das: Have Forest Service Officers been threatening ordinary citizens, seizing their property, then threatening them with arrest if they complain? If so, how many cases of wrongful seizure and wrongful imprisonment have WCCB caused among India’s villagers and forest dwellers since 1994? There is immediate need for an Ombudsman to independently review all cases in each of your Five Zones! May 4,

409.  Critique of Monetary Ideas of Manmohan & Modi: the Roy Model explaining to Bimal Jalan, Nirmala Sitharaman, RBI etc what it is they are doing (Drafts 4 August, 7 August 2019; 27 August, 28 August, 30 August, 31 August, 1 September 2019) August 4, 2019

410. 1 May 2020 Statement of Dr. Subroto Roy, Economist & Citizen, Proposing PM Narendra Modi & Home Minister Amit Shah Apologize to India’s People, Create Remedy, and Resign to Do Prayaschit/Atonement; 9 May: A New Cabinet for President Kovind May 1, 2020

See also:

My Recent Works, Interviews etc on India’s Money, Public Finance, Banking, Trade, BoP, etc (an incomplete list)

My Seventy-One Articles, Notes Etc on Kashmir, Pakistan, & of course, India (plus my undelivered Lahore lectures)

My Ten Articles on China, Tibet, Xinjiang, Taiwan in relation to India

M1. Map of Asia c. 1900

M2. Map of Chinese Empire c. 1900

M3. Map of Sinkiang, Tibet and Neighbours 1944

M4. China’s Secretly Built 1957 Road Through India’s Aksai Chin

M5. Map of Kashmir to Sinkiang 1944

M6. Map of India-Tibet-China-Mongolia 1959

M7. Map of India, Afghanistan, Russia, China, 1897

M8. Map of Xinjiang/Sinkiang/E Turkestan

M9. Map of Bombay/Mumbai 1909

M10-M13. Himalayan Expedition, West Sikkim 1970 – 1,2,3,4

Thoughts, words, deeds

My work 1973-2014

Subroto Roy

This is an incomplete bibliography of my writings, public lectures etc 1973-2014 including citations, reviews, comments. I have been mostly an academic economist who by choice or circumstance over 41 years has had to venture also into science, philosophy, public policy, law, jurisprudence, practical politics, history, international relations, military strategy, financial theory, accounting, management, journalism, literary criticism, psychology, psychoanalysis, theology, aesthetics, biography, children’s fables, etc. If anything unites the seemingly diverse work recorded below it is that I have tried to acquire a grasp of the nature of human reason and then apply this comprehension in practical contexts as simply and clearly as possible. Hence I have ended up following the path of Aristotle, as described in modern times (via Wittgenstein and John Wisdom) by Renford Bambrough. The 2004 public lecture in England, “Science, Religion, Art & the Necessity of Freedom”, may explain and illustrate all this best. A friend has been kind enough to call me an Academician, which I probably am, though one who really needs his own Academy because the incompetence, greed and mendacity encountered too often in the modern professoriat is dispiriting.
Besides writings and publications printed on paper, there are writings or items not printed on paper — as new media break space, cost and other constraints of traditional publishing. A little repetition and overlap has occurred too. Also in a few cases, e.g., Aldous Huxley’s essay on DH Lawrence, nothing has been done except discover and republish. Several databases have been created and released in the public interest, as have been some rare maps. There is also some biographical and autobiographical material. Several inconsequential errors remain in the text, which shall take time to be rectified as documents come to be rediscovered and collated.
1973

1. “Behavioural study of mus musculus”, Haileybury College, Supervised by J de C Ford-Robertson MA (Oxon). (Due to be published here 2010).
2. “Chemistry at Advanced & Special Level: Student Notes 1972-73” (Due to be published here 2010).
3. “Biology at Advanced & Special Level: Student Notes 1972-73”, (Due to be published here 2010).
4. “Physics at Advanced Level: Student Notes 1972-73”, (Due to be published here 2010).
5. “Revolution: theoria and praxis”, London, mimeo (Due to be published here 2010).
6. “Gandhi vs Marx”, London, mimeo (Due to be published here 2010).
1974
7. “Relevance of downward money-wage rigidity to the problem of maintaining full-employment in the classical and Keynesian models of income determination”, London School of Economics, mimeo (Due to be published here 2010).
8. “Testing aircraft fuels at Shell Finland”.
1975
9. “Oxford Street experiences: down and out in London town”.
10. “SE Region Bulk Distribution Survey”, Unilever, Basingstoke.
11. “Four London poems”, in JCM Paton (ed) New Writing (London, Great Portland Street: International Students House). (Due to be republished here 2010)
12. “On economic growth models and modellers”, London School of Economics, mimeo. (Due to be published here 2010).
1976
13. “World money: system or anarchy?”, lecture to Professor ACL Day’s seminar, London School of Economics, Economics Department, April. (Due to be published here 2010).
14. “A beginner’s guide to some recent developments in monetary theory”, lecture to Professor FH Hahn’s seminar, Cambridge University Economics Department, November 17 (Due to be published here 2010). See also “Announcement of My “Hahn Seminar”, published here June 14 2008.
1977
15. “Inflation and unemployment: a survey”, mimeo, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. (Due to be published here 2010).
16. “On short run theories of dual economies”, Cambridge University Economics Department “substantial piece of work” required of first year Research Students. Examiner: DMG Newbery, FBA. (Due to be published here 2010).
1978
17. “Pure theory of developing economies 1 and 2”, Delhi School of Economics mimeo (Due to be published here 2010).
18. “Introduction to some market outcomes under uncertainty”, Delhi School of Economics mimeo (Due to be published here 2010).
19. “On money and development”, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, mimeo, September. (Due to be published here 2010)
20. “Notes on the Newbery-Stiglitz model of sharecropping”, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, mimeo November. (Due to be published here 2010).
1979
21. “A theory of rights and economic justice”, Corpus Christi College Cambridge mimeo. (Due to be published here 2010).
22. “Monetary theory and economic development”, Corpus Christi College Cambridge, mimeo (Due to be published here 2010).
23. “Foundations of the case against ‘development planning’”, Corpus Christi College Cambridge, mimeo, November. (Due to be published here 2010).
1979-1989
24. Correspondence with Renford Bambrough (1926-1999), philosopher of St John’s College, Cambridge (Due to be published here 2010).
1980
25. “Models before the monetarist storm”, New Statesman letters
26. “Disciplining rulers and experts”, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, mimeo. (Due to be published here 2010).
1981
27. “On liberty & economic growth: preface to a philosophy for India”, Cambridge University doctoral thesis, supervisor FH Hahn, FBA; examiners CJ Bliss, FBA; TW Hutchison, FBA (Due to be published here 2010). 27a Response of FA Hayek on a partial draft February 18 1981. 27b Response of Peter Bauer, 1982. 27c Response of Theodore W Schultz, 1983. 27d. Response of Frank Hahn 1985.
1982
28. “Knowledge and freedom in economic theory Parts 1 and 2”, Centre for Study of Public Choice, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, Working Papers.
29. “Economic Theory and Development Economics”. Lecture to American Economic Association, New York, Dec 1982. Panel: RM Solow, HB Chenery, T Weisskopf, P Streeten, G Rosen, S Roy. Published in 29a.
1983
29a “Economic Theory and Development Economics: A Comment”. World Development, 1983. [Citation: Stavros Thefanides “Metamorphosis of Development Economics”, World Development 1988.]
30. “The Political Economy of Trade Policy (Comment on J. Michael Finger)”, Washington DC: Cato Journal, Winter 1983/84. See also “Did Donald Trump & Bernie Sanders get their Trade Policy from my 1983 Cato talk?”  2009/2017.
1984
31. “Considerations on Utility, Benevolence and Taxation”, History of Political Economy, 1984. 31a Response of Professor Sir John Hicks May 1 1984.
[Citations: P. Hennipman, “A Tale of Two Schools”, De Economist 1987, “A New Look at the Ordinalist Revolution”, J. Econ. Lit. Mar 1988; P. Rappoport, “Reply to Professor Hennipman”, J. Econ. Lit. Mar 1988; Eugene Smolensky et al “An Application of A Dynamic Cost-of-Living Index to the Evaluation of Changes in Social Welfare”, J. Post-Keynesian Econ.IX.3. 1987.]
32. Pricing, Planning and Politics: A Study of Economic Distortions in India, London: Institute of Economic Affairs, London 1984.
[Citations: Lead editorial of The Times of London May 29 1984, “India’s economy”, Times letters June 16 1984. John Toye “Political Economy & Analysis of Indian Development”, Modern Asian Studies, 22, 1, 1988; John Toye, Dilemmas of Development; D. Wilson, “Privatization of Asia”, The Banker Sep. 1984 etc]. See also 370 “Silver Jubilee of ‘Pricing, Planning and Politics: A Study of Economic Distortions in India’” 2009.
33. Review of Utilitarianism and Beyond, Amartya Sen & Bernard Williams (eds) Public Choice.
34. Review of Limits of Utilitarianism, HB Miller & WH Williams (eds.), Public Choice.
35. Deendayal lecture (one of four invited lecturers), Washington DC, May October “On Government and the Individual in India”

1987
36. (with one other) “Does the Theory of Logical Types Inform the Theory of Communication?”, Journal of Genetic Psychology., 148 (4), Dec. 1987 [Citation:
37. “Irrelevance of Foreign Aid”, India International Centre Quarterly, Winter 1987.
38. Review of Development Planning by Sukhamoy Chakravarty for Economic Affairs, London 1987.
1988
39. (with Seiji Naya and Pearl Imada) “Introduction” to Lessons in Development: A Comparative Study of Asia and Latin America. San Francisco: Inst. of Economic Growth.
40. “A note on the welfare economics of regional cooperation”, lecture to Asia-Latin America conference, East West Center Honolulu, published 2009.
1989
41. Philosophy of Economics: On the Scope of Reason in Economic Inquiry, London & New York: Routledge (International Library of Philosophy) 1989, paperback 1991. Internet edition 2007. [Reviews & Citations: Research in Economics, 1992; De Economist 1991 & 1992; Manch.Sch. Econ.Studs. 59, 1991; Ethics 101.88 Jul. 1991; Kyklos 43.4 1990; Soc. Science Q. 71.880. Dec.1990; Can. Phil. Rev. 1990; J. Econ. Hist. Sep. 1990; Econ. & Phil. Fall 1990; Econ. Affairs June-July 1990; TLS May 1990; Choice March 1990; J. App.Phil. 1994, M. Blaug: Methodology of Economics, 2nd ed., Cambridge, 1992; Hist. Methods. 27.3, 1994; J. of Inst. & Theoretical Econ.,1994; Jahrbucker fur Nationaleconomie 1994, 573:574. Mark A Lutz in Economics for the Common Good, London: Routledge, 1999, et al]. See also 339 “Apropos Philosophy of Economics”, Comments of Sidney Hook, KJ Arrow, Milton Friedman, TW Schultz, SS Alexander, Max Black, Renford Bambrough, John Gray et al.
42. Foreword to Essays on the Political Economy by James M. Buchanan, Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press 1989.
43. “Modern Political Economy of India”, edited by Subroto Roy & William E James, Hawaii mimeo May 21 1989. This published for the first time a November 1955 memorandum to the Government of India by Milton Friedman. See also 43a, 53.
43a. Preface to “Milton Friedman’s extempore comments at the 1989 Hawaii conference: on India, Israel, Palestine, the USA, Debt and its uses, Erhardt abolishing exchange controls, Etc”, May 22 1989, published here for the first time October 31 2008.
44. Milton Friedman’s defence of my work in 1989.
45. Theodore W. Schultz’s defence of Philosophy of Economics
1990
46. “Letter to Judge Evelyn Lance: On A Case Study in Private International Law” (Due to be published here in 2010).
47-49. Selections from advisory work on economic policy etc for Rajiv Gandhi, Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of India, published in 47a-49a.
1991
41b Philosophy of Economics: On the Scope of Reason in Economic Inquiry, Paperback edition.
50. “Conversations and correspondence with Rajiv Gandhi during the Gulf war, January 1991” (Due to be published here 2010).
47a. A Memo to Rajiv I: Stronger Secular Middle”, The Statesman, Jul 31 1991.
48a “A Memo to Rajiv II: Saving India’s Prestige”, The Statesman, Aug 1 1991.
49a “A Memo to Rajiv III: Salvation in Penny Capitalism”, The Statesman, Aug 2 1991 47b-49b “Three Memoranda to Rajiv Gandhi 1990-91”, 2007 republication here.
51. “Constitution for a Second Indian Republic”, The Saturday Statesman, April 20 1991. Republished here 2009.
52. “On the Art of Government: Experts, Party, Cabinet and Bureaucracy”, New Delhi mimeo March 25 1991, published here July 00 2009.
1992
53. Foundations of India’s Political Economy: Towards an Agenda for the 1990s Edited and with an Introduction by Subroto Roy & William E. James New Delhi, London, Newbury Park: Sage: 1992. Citation: Milton and Rose Friedman Two Lucky People (Chicago 1998), pp. 268-269.
54. Foundations of Pakistan’s Political Economy: Towards an Agenda for the 1990s Edited and with an Introduction by William E. James & Subroto Roy, Hawaii MS 1989, Sage: 1992, Karachi: Oxford 1993.
Reviews of 53 & 54 include: Bus. Today, Mar-Apr 1992; Political Studies March 1995; Econ Times 21 March 1993; Pakistan Development Review 1992. Hindustan Times 11 July 1992. Pacific Affairs 1993; Hindu 21 March 1993, 15 June 1993; Pakistan News International 12 June 1993. Book Reviews March 1993; Deccan Herald 2 May 1993; Pol.Econ.J. Ind. 1992. Fin Express 13 September 1992; Statesman 16 Jan. 1993. J. Royal Soc Asian Aff. 1994, J. Contemporary Asia, 1994 etc.
55. “Fundamental Problems of the Economies of India and Pakistan”, World Bank, Washington, mimeo (Due to be published here 2010).
56.“The Road to Stagflation: The Coming Dirigisme in America, or, America, beware thy economists!, or Zen and Clintonomics,” Washington DC, Broad Branch Terrace, mimeo, November 17.
1993
57. “Exchange-rates and manufactured exports of South Asia”, IMF Washington DC mimeo. Published in part in 2007-2008 as 58-62:
58. “Path of the Indian Rupee 1947-1993”, 2008.
59. “Path of the Pakistan Rupee 1947-1993”, 2008.
60. “Path of the Sri Lankan Rupee 1948-1993”, 2008.
61. “Path of the Bangladesh Taka 1972-1993”, 2008.
62. “India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh Manufactured Exports, IMF Washington DC mimeo”, published 2007.
63. “Economic Assessment of US-India Merchandise Trade”, Arlington, Virginia, mimeo, published in slight part in Indo-US Trade & Economic Cooperation, ICRIER New Delhi, 1995, and in whole 2007.
64. “Towards an Economic Solution for Kashmir”, mimeo, Arlington, Virginia, circulated in Washington DC 1993-1995, cf 82, 111 infra. Comment of Selig Harrison.
1994
65. “Comment on Indonesia”, in The Political Economy of Policy Reform edited by John Williamson, Washington, DC: Institute for International Economics.
66a “Gold reserves & the gold price in anticipation of Central Bank behaviour”, Greenwich, Connecticut, mimeo. 67b. “Portfolio optimization and foreign currency exposure hedging” Greenwich, Connecticut mimeo.
1995
68. “On the logic and commonsense of debt and payments crises: How to avoid another Mexico in India and Pakistan”, Scarsdale, NY, mimeo, May 1.
69. “Policies for Young India”, Scarsdale, NY, pp. 350, manuscript.
1996
70. US Supreme Court documents, published in part in 2008 as “Become a US Supreme Court Justice!” 70a, 70b (Due to be published in full here in 2010 as Roy vs University of Hawaii, 1989- including the expert testimonies of Milton Friedman and Theodore W Schultz.).
71. “Key problems of macroeconomic management facing the new Indian Government”, May 17. Scarsdale, New York, mimeo. (Due to be published here 2010).
72. “Preventing a collapse of the rupee”, IIT Kharagpur lecture July 16 1996.
73. “The Economist’s Representation of Technological Knowledge”, Vishvesvaraya lecture to the Institution of Engineers, September 15 1996, IIT Kharagpur.
1997
74. “Union and State Budgets in India”, lecture at the World Bank, Washington DC, May 00.
75. “State Budgets in India”, IIT Kharagpur mimeo, June 6.
1998
76. “Transparency and Economic Policy-Making: An address to the Asia-Pacific Public Relations Conference” (panel on Transparency chaired by CR Irani) Jan 30 1998, published here 2008.
77. Theodore W. Schultz 1902-1998, Feb 25.
78. “The Economic View of Human Resources”, address to a regional conference on human resources, IIT Kharagpur.
79. “Management accounting”, lecture at Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy, Mussourie,
80a “The Original Reformer”, Outlook letters, Jan 23 1998
81. “Recent Developments in Modern Finance”, IIM Bangalore Review, 10, 1 & 2, Jan.-Jun 1998. Reprinted as “From the Management Guru’s Classroom”: 81a “An introduction to derivatives”, Business Standard/Financial Times, Bombay 18 Apr 1999; 81b “Options in the future, Apr 25 1999; 81c “What is hedging?”, May 2 1999; 81d “Teaching computers to think”, May 9 1999.
82. “Towards an Economic Solution for Kashmir”, Jun 22 1998, lecture at Heritage Foundation, Washington DC. Cf 111 Dec 2005.
83. “Sixteen Currencies for India: A Reverse Euro Model for Monetary & Fiscal Efficacy”, Lecture at the Institute of Economic Affairs, London, June 29 1998. Due to be published here 2010.
84. “Fable of the Fox, the Farmer, and the Would-Be Tailors”, October (Published here July 27 2009).
85. “A Common Man’s Guide to Pricing Financial Derivatives”, Lecture to “National Seminar on Derivatives”, Xavier Labour Research Institute, Jamshedpur, Dec. 16 1998. See 98.
1999
86. “An Analysis of Pakistan’s War-Winning Strategy: Are We Ready for This?”, IIT Kharagpur mimeo, published in part as 86a.“Was a Pakistani Grand Strategy Discerned in Time by India?” New Delhi: Security & Political Risk Analysis Bulletin, July 1999, Kargil issue. See also 000
80b. “The Original Reformer”, Outlook letters, Sep 13 1999.
2000
87. “On Freedom & the Scientific Point of View”, SN Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, Feb 17 2000. Cf 100 below.
88. “Liberalism and Indian economic policy”, lecture at IIM Calcutta, Indian Liberal Group Meetings Devlali, Hyderabad; also Keynote address to UGC Seminar Guntur, March 30 2002. (Due to be published here 2010).
89. “Towards a Highly Transparent Fiscal & Monetary Framework for India’s Union & State Governments”, Invited address to Conference of State Finance Secretaries, Reserve Bank of India, Bombay, April 29, 2000. Published 2008.
90. “On the Economics of Information Technology”, two lectures at the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore, Nov 10-11, 2000.
91. Review of A New World by Amit Chaudhuri in Literary Criterion, Mysore.
2001
92. Review of AD Shroff: Titan of Finance and Free Enterprise by Sucheta Dalal, Freedom First., January.
93. “Encounter with Rajiv Gandhi: On the Origins of the 1991 Economic Reform”, Freedom First, October. See also 93a in 2005 and 93b in 2007.
94. “A General Theory of Globalization & Modern Terrorism with Special Reference to September 11”, a keynote address to the Council for Asian Liberals & Democrats, Manila, Philippines, 16 Nov. 2001. Published as 91a.
95. “The Case for and against The Satanic Verses: Diatribe and Dialectic as Art”, Dec 22 republished in print 95a The Statesman Festival Volume, 2006.
2002
94a “A General Theory of Globalization & Modern Terrorism with Special Reference to September 11”, in September 11 & Political Freedom in Asia, eds. Johannen, Smith & Gomez, Singapore 2002.
2002-2010
96. “Recording vivid dreams: Freud’s advice in exploring the Unconscious Mind” (Due to be published here in 2010).
2003
97. “Key principles of government accounting and audit”, IIT Kharagpur mimeo.
98. “Derivative pricing & other topics in financial theory: a student’s complete lecture notes” (Due to be published here in 2010).
2004
99. TV Interview by BBC, Oxford, after May 2004 General Election in India.
100. “Collapse of the Global Conversation”, International Institute for Asian Studies, Leiden, Netherlands, Jul 2004.
101. “Science, Religion, Art & the Necessity of Freedom”, a public lecture, University of Buckingham, UK, August 24 2004. Published here 2007.
2005
93a Rajiv Gandhi and the Origins of India’s 1991 Economic Reform (this was the full story; it appeared in print for the first time in The Statesman Festival Volume 2007).
102. “Can India become an economic superpower (or will there be a monetary meltdown)?” Cardiff University Institute of Applied Macroeconomics Monetary Economics Seminar, April 13, Institute of Economic Affairs, London, April 27, Reserve Bank of India, Bombay, Chief Economist’s Seminar on Monetary Economics, May 5.
103. Margaret Thatcher’s Revolution: How it Happened and What it Meant, Edited and with an Introduction by Subroto Roy & John Clarke, London & New York: Continuum, 2005; paperback 2006; French translation by Florian Bay, 2007.
104. “Iqbal & Jinnah vs Rahmat Ali in Pakistan’s Creation”, Dawn, Karachi, Sep 3.
105. “The Mitrokhin Archives II from an Indian Perspective: A Review Article”, The Statesman, Perspective Page, Oct 11 .
106. “After the Verdict”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Oct 20.
107. “US Espionage Failures”, The Statesman, Perspective Page, Oct 26
108. “Waffle But No Models of Monetary Policy”, The Statesman, Perspective Page, Oct 30.
109. “On Hindus and Muslims”, The Statesman, Perspective Page, Nov 6.
110. “Assessing Vajpayee: Hindutva True and False”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Nov 13-14″.
111. “Fiction from the India Economic Summit”, The Statesman, Front Page, Nov 29.
112. “Solving Kashmir: On an Application of Reason”, The Statesman Editorial Page
I. “Give the Hurriyat et al Indian Green Cards”, Dec 1
II. “Choice of Nationality under Full Information”, Dec 2
III. “Of Flags and Consulates in Gilgit etc”, Dec 3.
2006
113. “The Dream Team: A Critique”, The Statesman Editorial Page
I : New Delhi’s Consensus (Manmohantekidambaromics), Jan 6
II: Money, Convertibility, Inflationary Deficit Financing, Jan 7
III: Rule of Law, Transparency, Government Accounting, Jan 8.
114. “Unaccountable Delhi: India’s Separation of Powers’ Doctrine”, The Statesman, Jan 13.
115. “Communists and Constitutions”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Jan 22.
116. “Diplomatic Wisdom”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Jan 31.
117. “Mendacity & the Government Budget Constraint”, The Statesman, Front Page Feb 3.
118. “Of Graven Images”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Feb5.
119. “Separation of Powers, Parts 1-2”, The Statesman, Editorial Pages Feb 12-13.
120. “Public Debt, Government Fantasy”, The Statesman, Front Page Editorial Comment, Feb 22.
121. “War or Peace Parts 1-2”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Feb 23-24.
122. “Can You Handle This Brief, Mr Chidambaram?” The Statesman, Front Page Feb 26.
123. “A Downpayment On the Taj Mahal Anyone?”, The Statesman, Front Page Comment on the Budget 2006-2007, Mar 1.
124. “Atoms for Peace (or War)”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page Mar 5.
125. “Imperialism Redux: Business, Energy, Weapons & Foreign Policy”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Mar 14.
126. “Logic of Democracy”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Mar 30.
127. “Towards an Energy Policy”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Apr 2.
128. “Iran’s Nationalism”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Apr 6.
129. “A Modern Military”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Apr 16.
130. “On Money & Banking”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Apr 23.
131. “Lessons for India from Nepal’s Revolution”, The Statesman, Front Page Apr 26.
132. “Revisionist Flattery (Inder Malhotra’s Indira Gandhi: A Review Article)”, The Sunday Statesman, May 7.
133. “Modern World History”, The Sunday Statesman Editorial Page, May 7.
134. “Argumentative Indians: A Conversation with Professor Amartya Sen on Philosophy, Identity and Islam,” The Sunday Statesman, May 14 2006. “A Philosophical Conversation between Professor Sen and Dr Roy”, 2008. Translated into Bengali by AA and published in 00.
135. “The Politics of Dr Singh”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, May 21.
136. “Corporate Governance & the Principal-Agent Problem”, lecture at a conference on corporate governance, Kolkata May 31. Published here 2008.
137. “Pakistan’s Allies Parts 1-2”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Jun 4-5.
138. “Law, Justice and J&K Parts 1-2”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Jul 2, The Statesman Editorial Page Jul 3.
139. “The Greatest Pashtun (Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan)”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Jul 16.
140. “Understanding Pakistan Parts 1-2”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Jul 30, The Statesman Editorial Page Jul 31.
141. “Indian Money and Credit”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Aug 6.
142. “India’s Moon Mission”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Aug 13.
143. “Jaswant’s Journeyings: A Review Article”, The Sunday Statesman Magazine, Aug 27.
144. “Our Energy Interests, Parts 1-2”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Aug 27, The Statesman Editorial Page Aug 28.
145. “Is Balochistan Doomed?”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Sep 3 2006.
146. “Racism New and Old”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Sep 8 2006
147. “Political Economy of India’s Energy Policy”, address to KAF-TERI conference, Goa Oct 7, published in 147a.
148. “New Foreign Policy? Seven phases of Indian foreign policy may be identifiable since Nehru”, Parts 1-2, The Sunday Statesman, Oct 8, The Statesman Oct 9.
149. “Justice & Afzal: There is a difference between law and equity (or natural justice). The power of pardon is an equitable power. Commuting a death-sentence is a partial pardon”, The Sunday Statesman Editorial Page Oct 14
150. “Non-existent liberals (On a Liberal Party for India)”, The Sunday Statesman Editorial Page Oct 22.
151. “History of Jammu & Kashmir Parts 1-2”, The Sunday Statesman, Oct 29, The Statesman Oct 30, Editorial Page.
152. “American Democracy: Does America need a Prime Minister and a longer-lived Legislature?”, The Sunday Statesman Nov 5.
153. “Milton Friedman A Man of Reason 1912-2006”, The Statesman Perspective Page, Nov 22.
154. “Postscript to Milton Friedman Mahalanobis’s Plan (The Mahalanobis-Nehru “Second Plan”) The Statesman Front Page Nov 22.
155. “Mob Violence and Psychology”, Dec 10, The Statesman, Editorial Page.
156. “What To Tell Musharraf: Peace Is Impossible Without Non-Aggressive Pakistani Intentions”, The Statesman Editorial Page Dec 15.
157. “Land, Liberty and Value: Government must act in good faith treating all citizens equally – not favouring organised business lobbies and organised labour over an unorganised peasantry”, The Sunday Statesman Editorial Page Dec 31.
2007
158. “Hypocrisy of the CPI-M: Political Collapse In Bengal: A Mid-Term Election/Referendum Is Necessary”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Jan 9.
159. “On Land-Grabbing: Dr Singh’s India, Buddhadeb’s Bengal, Modi’s Gujarat have notorious US, Soviet and Chinese examples to follow ~ distracting from the country’s real economic problems,” The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page Jan 14.
160. “India’s Macroeconomics: Real growth has steadily occurred because India has shared the world’s technological progress. But bad fiscal, monetary policies over decades have led to monetary weakness and capital flight” The Statesman Editorial Page Jan 20.
161. “Fiscal Instability: Interest payments quickly suck dry every year’s Budget. And rolling over old public debt means that Government Borrowing in fact much exceeds the Fiscal Deficit”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Feb 4.
162. “Our trade and payments Parts 1-2” (“India in World Trade and Payments”),The Sunday Statesman, Feb 11 2007, The Statesman, Feb 12 2007.
163. “Our Policy Process: Self-Styled “Planners” Have Controlled India’s Paper Money For Decades,” The Statesman, Editorial Page, Feb 20.
164. “Bengal’s Finances”, The Sunday Statesman Editorial Page, Feb 25.
165. “Fallacious Finance: Congress, BJP, CPI-M may be leading India to Hyperinflation” The Statesman Editorial Page Mar 5.
166. “Uttar Pradesh Polity and Finance: A Responsible New Govt May Want To Declare A Financial Emergency” The Statesman Editorial Page, Mar 24
167. “A scam in the making” in The Sunday Statesman Front Page Apr 1 2007, published here in full as “Swindling India”.
168. “Maharashtra’s Money: Those Who Are Part Of The Problem Are Unlikely To Be A Part Of Its Solution”, The Statesman Editorial Page Apr 24.
147a. “Political Economy of Energy Policy” in India and Energy Security edited by Anant Sudarshan and Ligia Noronha, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, New Delhi 2007.
169. “Presidential Qualities: Simplicity, Genuine Achievement Are Desirable; Political Ambition Is Not”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, May 8.
170. “We & Our Neighbours: Pakistanis And Bangladeshis Would Do Well To Learn From Sheikh Abdullah”, The Statesman, Editorial Page May 15.
171. “On Indian Nationhood: From Tamils To Kashmiris And Assamese And Mizos To Sikhs And Goans”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, May 25.
172. A Current Example of the Working of the Unconscious Mind, May 26.
173. Where I would have gone if I was Osama Bin Laden, May 31.
174. “US election ’08:America’s Presidential Campaign Seems Destined To Be Focussed On Iraq”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, June 1.
175. “Home Team Advantage: On US-Iran talks and Sunni-Shia subtleties: Tehran must transcend its revolution and endorse the principle that the House of Islam has many mansions”, The Sunday Statesman Editorial Page, June 3
176. “Unhealthy Delhi: When will normal political philosophy replace personality cults?”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, June 11.
177. “American Turmoil: A Vice-Presidential Coup – And Now a Grassroots Counterrevolution?”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, June 18
178. “Political Paralysis: India has yet to develop normal conservative, liberal and socialist parties. The Nice-Housing-Effect and a little game-theory may explain the current stagnation”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, June 24.
179. “Has America Lost? War Doctrines Of Kutusov vs Clausewitz May Help Explain Iraq War”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, July 3.
180. “Lal Masjid ≠ Golden Temple: Wide differences are revealed between contemporary Pakistan and India by these two superficially similar military assaults on armed religious civilians”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page July 15
181. “Political Stonewalling: Only Transparency Can Improve Institutions”, The Statesman, Editorial Page July 20.
182. “Gold standard etc: Fixed versus flexible exchange rates”, July 21.
183. “US Pakistan-India Policy: Delhi & Islamabad Still Look West In Defining Their Relationship”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, July 27.
184. “Works of DH Lawrence” July 30
185. “An Open Letter to Professor Amartya Sen about Singur etc”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, July 31.
186. “Martin Buber on Palestine and Israel (with Postscript)”, Aug 4.
187. “Auguste Rodin on Nature, Art, Beauty, Women and Love”, Aug 7.
188. “Saving Pakistan: A Physicist/Political Philosopher May Represent Iqbal’s “Spirit of Modern Times”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Aug 13.
189. Letter to Forbes.com 16 Aug.
190. “Need for Clarity: A poorly drafted treaty driven by business motives is a recipe for international misunderstanding”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Aug 19.
191. “No Marxist MBAs? An amicus curiae brief for the Hon’ble High Court”, The Statesman, FrontPage, Aug 29.
192. On Lawrence, Sep 4.
193. Dalai Lama’s Return: In the tradition of Gandhi, King, Mandela, Sep 11.
194. Of JC Bose, Patrick Geddes & the Leaf-World, Sep 12.
195. “Against Quackery: Manmohan and Sonia have violated Rajiv Gandhi’s intended reforms; the Communists have been appeased or bought; the BJP is incompetent Parts 1-2”, in The Sunday Statesman and The Statesman, Editorial Pages of Sep 23-24.
196. Karl Georg Zinn’s 1994 Review of Philosophy of Economics, Sep 26.
197. DH Lawrence’s Phoenix, Oct 3.
93b. “Rajiv Gandhi and the Origins of India’s 1991 Economic Reform”, Statesman Festival Volume.
198. “Iran, America, Iraq: Bush’s post-Saddam Saddamism — one flip-flop too many?”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Oct 16.
199. “Understanding China: The World Needs to Ask China to Find Her True Higher Self”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Oct 22.
200. “India-USA interests: Elements of a serious Indian foreign policy”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Oct 30.
201. “China’s India Aggression : German Historians Discover Logic Behind Communist Military Strategy”, The Statesman, Editorial Page Special Article, Nov 5.
202. Sonia’s Lying Courtier (with Postscript), Nov 25. See also 2014
203. “Surrender or Fight? War is not a cricket match or Bollywood movie. Can India fight China if it must?” The Statesman, Dec 4, Editorial Page.
204. Hutton and Desai: United in Error Dec 14
205. “China’s Commonwealth: Freedom is the Road to Resolving Taiwan, Tibet, Sinkiang”, The Statesman, Dec 17.
2008
206. “Nixon & Mao vs India: How American foreign policy did a U-turn about Communist China’s India aggression. The Government of India should publish its official history of the 1962 war.” The Sunday Statesman, Jan 6, The Statesman Jan 7 Editorial Page.
207. “Lessons from the 1962 War: Beginnings of a solution to the long-standing border problem: there are distinct Tibetan, Chinese and Indian points of view that need to be mutually comprehended”, The Sunday Statesman, January 13 2008.
208. “Our Dismal Politics: Will Independent India Survive Until 2047?”, The Statesman Editorial Page, Feb 1.
209. Median Voter Model of India’s Electorate Feb 7.
210. “Anarchy in Bengal: Intra-Left bandh marks the final unravelling of “Brand Buddha””, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Feb 10.
211. Fifty years since my third birthday: on life and death.
212. “Pakistan’s Kashmir obsession: Sheikh Abdullah Relied In Politics On The French Constitution, Not Islam”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Feb 16.
213. A Note on the Indian Policy Process Feb 21.
214. “Growth & Government Delusion: Progress Comes From Learning, Enterprise, Exchange, Not The Parasitic State”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Feb 22.
215. “How to Budget: Thrift, Not Theft, Needs to Guide Our Public Finances”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Feb 26.
216. “India’s Budget Process (in Theory)”, The Statesman, Front Page Feb 29.
217. “Irresponsible Governance: Congress, BJP, Communists, BSP, Sena Etc Reveal Equally Bad Traits”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, March 4.
218. “American Politics: Contest Between Obama And Clinton Affects The World”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, March 11.
219. “China’s India Example: Tibet, Xinjiang May Not Be Assimilated Like Inner Mongolia And Manchuria”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, March 25.
220. “Taxation of India’s Professional Cricket: A Proposal”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, April 1.
221. “Two cheers for Pakistan!”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, April 7.
222. “Indian Inflation: Upside Down Economics From The New Delhi Establishment Parts 1-2”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, April 15-16.
223. “Assessing Manmohan: The Doctor of Deficit Finance should realise the currency is at stake”, The Statesman, Editorial Page Apr 25.
224. John Wisdom, Renford Bambrough: Main Philosophical Works, May 8.
225. “All India wept”: On the death of Rajiv Gandhi, May 21.
226. “China’s force and diplomacy: The need for realism in India” The Statesman, Editorial Page May 31.
227. Serendipity and the China-Tibet-India border problem June 6
228. “Leadership vacuum: Time & Tide Wait For No One In Politics: India Trails Pakistan & Nepal!”, The Statesman Editorial Page June 7.
229. My meeting Jawaharlal Nehru Oct13 1962
230. Manindranath Roy 1891-1958
231. Surendranath Roy 1860-1929
232. The Roys of Behala 1928.
233. Sarat Chandra visits Surendranath Roy 1927
234. Nuksaan-Faida Analysis = Cost-Benefit Analysis in Hindi/Urdu Jun 30
235. One of many reasons John R Hicks was a great economist July 3
236. My father, Indian diplomat, in the Shah’s Tehran 1954-57 July 8
237 Distribution of Govt of India Expenditure (Net of Operational Income) 1995 July 27
238. Growth of Real Income, Money & Prices in India 1869-2008, July 28.
239. Communism from Social Democracy? But not in India or China! July 29
240. Death of Solzhenitsyn, Aug. 3
240a. Tolstoy on Science and Art, Aug 4.
241. “Reddy’s reckoning: Where should India’s real interest rate be relative to the world?” Business Standard Aug 10
242. “Rangarajan Effect”, Business Standard Aug 24
243. My grandfather’s death in Ottawa 50 years ago today Sep 3
244. My books in the Library of Congress and British Library Sep 12
245. On Jimmy Carter & the “India-US Nuclear Deal”, Sep 12
246. My father after presenting his credentials to President Kekkonen of Finland Sep 14 1973.
247. “October 1929? Not!”, Business Standard, Sep 18.
248. “MK Gandhi, SN Roy, MA Jinnah in March 1919: Primary education legislation in a time of protest”
249. 122 sensible American economists Sept 26
250. Govt of India: Please call in the BBC and ask them a question Sep 27
251. “Monetary Integrity and the Rupee: Three British Raj relics have dominated our macroeconomic policy-making” Business Standard Sep 28.
252a. Rabindranath’s daughter writes to her friend my grandmother Oct 5
252b. A Literary Find: Modern Poetry in Bengal, Oct 6.
253. Sarat writes to Manindranath 1931, Oct 12
254. Origins of India’s Constitutional Politics 1913
255. Indira Gandhi in Paris, 1971
256. How the Liabilities/Assets Ratio of Indian Banks Changed from 84% in 1970 to 108% in 1998, October 20
257a. My Subjective Probabilities on India’s Moon Mission Oct 21
258. Complete History of Mankind’s Moon Missions: An Indian Citizen’s Letter to ISRO’s Chairman, Oct 22.
259. Would not a few million new immigrants solve America’s mortgage crisis? Oct 26
260. “America’s divided economists”, Business Standard Oct 26
261. One tiny prediction about the Obama Administration, Nov 5
262. Rai Bahadur Umbika Churn Rai, 1827-1902, Nov 7 2008
263. Jawaharlal Nehru invites my father to the Mountbatten Farewell Nov 7 2008
70a. “Become a US Supreme Court Justice! (Explorations in the Rule of Law in America) Preface” Nov 9
70b. “Become a US Supreme Court Justice! (Explorations in the Rule of Law in America)” Nov 9.
257b. Neglecting technological progress was the basis of my pessimism about Chandrayaan, Nov 9.
264. Of a new New Delhi myth and the success of the University of Hawaii 1986-1992 Pakistan project Nov 15
265. Pre-Partition Indian Secularism Case-Study: Fuzlul Huq and Manindranath Roy Nov 16
266. Do President-elect Obama’s Pakistan specialists suppose Maulana Azad, Dr Zakir Hussain, Sheikh Abdullah were Pakistanis (or that Sheikh Mujib wanted to remain one)? Nov 18
267. Jews have never been killed in India for being Jews until this sad day, Nov 28.
268. In international law, Pakistan has been the perpetrator, India the victim of aggression in Mumbai, Nov 30.
269. The Indian Revolution, Dec 1.
270. Habeas Corpus: a captured terrorist mass-murderer tells a magistrate he has not been mistreated by Mumbai’s police Dec 3
271. India’s Muslim Voices (Or, Let us be clear the Pakistan-India or Kashmir conflicts have not been Muslim-Hindu conflicts so much as intra-Muslim conflicts about Muslim identity and self-knowledge on the Indian subcontinent), Dec 4
272. “Anger Management” needed? An Oxford DPhil recommends Pakistan launch a nuclear first strike against India within minutes of war, Dec 5.
273. A Quick Comparison Between the September 11 2001 NYC-Washington attacks and the November 26-28 2008 Mumbai Massacres (An Application of the Case-by-Case Philosophical Technique of Wittgenstein, Wisdom and Bambrough), Dec 6
274. Dr Rice finally gets it right (and maybe Mrs Clinton will too) Dec 7
275. Will the Government of India’s new macroeconomic policy dampen or worsen the business-cycle (if such a cycle exists at all)? No one knows! “Where ignorance is bliss, ‘Tis folly to be wise.” Dec 7
276. Pump-priming for car-dealers: Keynes groans in his grave (If evidence was needed of the intellectual dishonesty of New Delhi’s new macroeconomic policy, here it is) Dec 9.
277. Congratulations to Mumbai’s Police: capturing a terrorist, affording him his Habeas Corpus rights, getting him to confess within the Rule of Law, sets a new world standard Dec 10
278. Two cheers — wait, let’s make that one cheer — for America’s Justice Department, Dec 10
279. Will Pakistan accept the bodies of nine dead terrorists who came from Pakistan to Mumbai? If so, let there be a hand-over at the Wagah border, Dec 11.
280. Kasab was a stupid, ignorant, misguided youth, manufactured by Pakistan’s terrorist masterminds into becoming a mass-murdering robot: Mahatma Gandhi’s India should punish him, get him to repent if he wishes, then perhaps rehabilitate him as a potent weapon against Pakistani terrorism Dec 12.
281. Pakistan’s New Delhi Embassy should ask for “Consular Access” to nine dead terrorists in a Mumbai morgue before asking to meet Kasab, Dec 13
282. An Indian Reply to President Zardari: Rewarding Pakistan for bad behaviour leads to schizophrenic relationships Dec 19
283. Is my prediction about Caroline Kennedy becoming US Ambassador to Britain going to be correct? Dec 27
284. Chandrayaan adds a little good cheer! Well done, ISRO!, Dec 28
285. How sad that “Slumdog millionaire” is SO disappointing! Dec 31
289. (with Claude Arpi) “Transparency & history: India’s archives must be opened to world standards” Business Standard New Delhi Dec 31, 2008, published here Jan 1 .
2009
290. A basis of India-Pakistan cooperation on the Mumbai massacres: the ten Pakistani terrorists started off as pirates and the Al-Huseini is a pirate ship Jan 1.
291. India’s “pork-barrel politics” needs a nice (vegetarian) Hindi name! “Teli/oily politics” perhaps? (And are we next going to see a Bill of Rights for Lobbyists?) Jan 3
292. My (armchair) experience of the 1999 Kargil war (Or, “Actionable Intelligence” in the Internet age: How the Kargil effort got a little help from a desktop) Jan 5
293. How Jammu & Kashmir’s Chief Minister Omar Abdullah can become a worthy winner of the Nobel Peace Prize: An Open Letter, Jan 7
294. Could the Satyam/PwC fraud be the visible part of an iceberg? Where are India’s “Generally Accepted Accounting Principles”? Isn’t governance rather poor all over corporate India? Bad public finance may be a root cause Jan 8
295. Satyam does not exist: it is bankrupt, broke, kaput. Which part of this does the new “management team” not get? The assets belong to Satyam’s creditors. Jan 8
296. Jews are massacred in Mumbai and now Jews commit a massacre in Gaza! Jan 9
297. And now for the Great Satyam Whitewash/Cover-Up/Public Subsidy! The wrong Minister appoints the wrong new Board who, probably, will choose the wrong policy Jan 12
298. Letter to Wei Jingsheng Jan 14
299. Memo to the Hon’ble Attorneys General of Pakistan & India: How to jointly prosecute the Mumbai massacre perpetrators most expeditiously Jan 16
300. Satyam and IT-firms in general may be good candidates to become “Labour-Managed” firms Jan 18
301. “Yes we might be able to do that. Perhaps we ought to. But again, perhaps we ought not to, let me think about it…. Most important is Cromwell’s advice: Think it possible we may be mistaken!” Jan 20.
302. RAND’s study of the Mumbai attacks Jan 25
303. Didn’t Dr Obama (the new American President’s late father) once publish an article in Harvard’s Quarterly Journal of Economics? (Or did he?) Jan 25.
304. “A Dialogue in Macroeconomics” 1989 etc: sundry thoughts on US economic policy discourse Jan 30
305. American Voices: A Brief Popular History of the United States in 20 You-Tube Music Videos Feb 5
306. Jaladhar Sen writes to Manindranath at Surendranath’s death, Feb 23
307. Pakistani expansionism: India and the world need to beware of “Non-Resident Pakistanis” ruled by Rahmat Ali’s ghost, Feb 9
308. My American years Part One 1980-90: battles for academic integrity & freedom Feb 11.
309. Thanks and well done Minister Rehman Malik and the Govt of Pakistan Feb 12
310. Can President Obama resist the financial zombies (let alone slay them)? His economists need to consult Dr Anna J Schwartz Feb 14
311. A Brief History of Gilgit, Feb 18
312. Memo to UCLA Geographers: Commonsense suggests Mr Bin Laden is far away from the subcontinent Feb 20
313. The BBC gets its history and geography deliberately wrong again Feb 21
314. Bengal Legislative Council 1921, Feb 28
315. Carmichael visits Surendranath, 1916, Mar 1
316. Memo to GoI CLB: India discovered the Zero, and 51% of Zero is still Zero Mar 10
317. An Academic Database of Doctoral & Other Postgraduate Research Done at UK Universities on India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Other Asian Countries Over 100 Years, Mar 13
318. Pakistan’s progress, Mar 18
319. Risk-aversion explains resistance to free trade, Mar 19
320. India’s incredibly volatile inflation rate! Mar 20
321. Is “Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona” referring to an emasculation of (elite) American society?, Mar 21
322. Just how much intellectual fraud can Delhi produce? Mar 26
323. India is not a monarchy! We urgently need to universalize the French concept of “citoyen”! Mar 28
324. Could this be the real state of some of our higher education institutions? Mar 29
325. Progress! The BBC retracts its prevarication! Mar 30
326. Aldous Huxley’s Essay “DH Lawrence” Mar 31
327. Waffle not institutional reform is what (I predict) the “G-20 summit” will produce, April 1
328. Did a full cricket team of Indian bureaucrats follow our PM into 10 Downing Street? Count for yourself! April 3
329. Will someone please teach the BJP’s gerontocracy some Economics 101 on an emergency basis? April 5
330. The BBC needs to determine exactly where it thinks Pakistan is!, April 5
331. Alfred Lyall on Christians, Muslims, India, China, Etc, 1908, April 6
332. An eminent economist of India passes away April 9
333. Democracy Database for the Largest Electorate Ever Seen in World History, April 12
334. Memo to the Election Commission of India April 14 2009, 9 AM, April 14
335. Caveat emptor! Satyam is taken over, April 14
336. India’s 2009 General Elections: Candidates, Parties, Symbols for Polls on 16-30 April Phases 1,2,3, April 15
337. On the general theory of expertise in democracy: reflections on what emerges from the American “torture memos” today, April 18
338. India’s 2009 General Elections: 467 constituencies (out of 543) for which candidates have been announced as of 1700hrs April 21, April 21
339. Apropos Philosophy of Economics, Comments of Sidney Hook, KJ Arrow, Milton Friedman, TW Schultz, SS Alexander, Max Black, Renford Bambrough, John Gray et al., April 22.
340. India’s 2009 General Elections: Names of all 543 Constituencies of the 15th Lok Sabha, April 22.
341. India’s 2009 General Elections: How 4125 State Assembly Constituencies comprise the 543 new Lok Sabha Constituencies, April 23.
342. Why has America’s “torture debate” yet to mention the obvious? Viz., sadism and racism, April 24
343. India’s 2009 General Elections: the advice of the late “George Eliot” (Mary Ann Evans, 1819-1880) to India’s voting public, April 24.
344. India’s 2009 General Elections: Delimitation and the Different Lists of 543 Lok Sabha Constituencies in 2009 and 2004, April 25
345. Is “Slumdog Millionaire” the single worst Best Picture ever?
346. India’s 2009 General Elections: Result of Delimitation — Old (2004) and New (2009) Lok Sabha and Assembly Constituencies, April 26
347. India’s 2009 General Elections: 7019 Candidates in 485 (out of 543) Constituencies announced as of April 26 noon April 26
348. What is Christine Fair referring to? Would the MEA kindly seek to address what she has claimed asap? April 27
349. Politics can be so entertaining 🙂 Manmohan versus Sonia on the poor old CPI(M)!, April 28
350. A Dozen Grown-Up Questions for Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, LK Advani, Sharad Pawar, Km Mayawati and Anyone Else Dreaming of Becoming/Deciding India’s PM After the 2009 General Elections, April 28
351. India’s 2009 General Elections: How drastically will the vote-share of political parties change from 2004? May 2
352. India’s 2009 General Elections: And now finally, all 8,070 Candidates across all 543 Lok Sabha Constituencies, May 5
353. India’s 2009 General Elections: The Mapping of Votes into Assembly Segments Won into Parliamentary Seats Won in the 2004 Election, May 7
354. Will Messrs Advani, Rajnath Singh & Modi ride into the sunset if the BJP comes to be trounced? (Corrected), May 10
355. India’s 2009 General Elections: 543 Matrices to Help Ordinary Citizens Audit the Election Commission’s Vote-Tallies May 12
356. Well done Sonia-Rahul! Two hours before polls close today, I am willing to predict a big victory for you (but, please, try to get your economics right, and also, you must get Dr Singh a Lok Sabha seat if he is to be PM) May 13
357. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee must dissolve the West Bengal Assembly if he is an honest democrat: Please try to follow Gerard Schröder’s example even slightly! May 16
358. India’s 2009 General Elections: Provisional Results from the EC as of 1400 hours Indian Standard Time May 16
359. Memo to the Hon’ble President of India: It is Sonia Gandhi, not Manmohan Singh, who should be invited to our equivalent of the “Kissing Hands” Ceremony May 16
360. Time for heads to roll in the BJP/RSS and CPI(M)!, May 17.
361. Inviting a new Prime Minister of India to form a Government: Procedure Right and Wrong May 18
362. Starting with Procedural Error: Why has the “Cabinet” of the 14th Lok Sabha been meeting today AFTER the results of the Elections to the 15th Lok Sabha have been declared?! May 18
363. Why has the Sonia Congress done something that the Congress under Nehru-Indira-Rajiv would not have done, namely, exaggerate the power of the Rajya Sabha and diminish the power of the Lok Sabha? May 21
364. Shouldn’t Dr Singh’s Cabinet begin with a small apology to the President of India for discourtesy? May we have reviews and reforms of protocols and practices to be followed at Rashtrapati Bhavan and elsewhere? May 23
365. Parliament’s sovereignty has been diminished by the Executive: A record for future generations to know May 25
366. How tightly will organised Big Business be able to control economic policies this time? May 26
367. Why does India not have a Parliament ten days after the 15th Lok Sabha was elected? Nehru and Rajiv would both have been appalled May 27
368. Eleven days and counting after the 15th Lok Sabha was elected and still no Parliament of India! (But we do have 79 Ministers — might that be a world record?) May 28
369. Note to Posterity: 79 Ministers in office but no 15th Lok Sabha until June 1 2009! May 29
370. Silver Jubilee of Pricing, Planning & Politics: A Study of Economic Distortions in India May 29
371. How to Design a Better Cabinet for the Government of India May 29
372. Parliament is supposed to control the Government, not be bullied or intimidated by it: Will Rahul Gandhi be able to lead the Backbenches in the 15th Lok Sabha? June 1
373. Mistaken Macroeconomics: An Open Letter to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, June 12
374. Why did Manmohan Singh and LK Advani apologise to one another? Is Indian politics essentially collusive, not competitive, aiming only to preserve and promote the post-1947 Dilli Raj at the expense of the whole of India? We seem to have no Churchillian repartee (except perhaps from Bihar occasionally) June 18
375. Are Iran’s Revolutionaries now Reactionaries? George Orwell would have understood. A fresh poll may be the only answer Are Iran’s Revolutionaries now Reactionaries? George Orwell would have understood. A fresh poll may be the only answer June 22
376. My March 25 1991 memo to Rajiv (which never reached him) is something the present Government seems to have followed: all for the best of course! July 12
377. Disquietude about France’s behaviour towards India on July 14 2009 July 14
378. Does the Govt. of India assume “foreign investors and analysts” are a key constituency for Indian economic policy-making? If so, why so? Have Govt. economists “learnt nothing, forgotten everything”? Some Bastille Day thoughts July 14
379. Letter to the GoI’s seniormost technical economist, May 21.July 19
380. Excuse me but young Kasab in fact confessed many months ago, immediately after he was captured – he deserves 20 or 30 years in an Indian prison, and a chance to become a model prisoner who will stand against the very terrorists who sent him on his vile mission July 20
381. Finally, three months late, the GoI responds to American and Pakistani allegations about Balochistan July 24
382. Thoughts, words, deeds: My work 1973-2010
2012
383. Life of my father 1915-2012
384. India’s Money” in the Cayman Financial Review, July 2012
385. Towards Making the Indian Rupee a Hard Currency of the World Economy: An analysis from British times until the present day, lecture at India International Centre, Delhi, 3 Dec 2012
386. 5 December 2012 interview by Mr Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, on Lok Sabha TV, the channel of India’s Lower House of Parliament, broadcast for the first time on 9 December 2012 on Lok Sabha TV, is here and here in two parts.
387. Interview by GDI Impuls banking quarterly of Zürich published on 6 Dec 2012 is here.
388. My interview by Ragini Bhuyan of Delhi’s Sunday Guardian published on 16 Dec 2012 is here.
2013
389. “I have a student called Suby Roy…”: Reflections on Frank Hahn (1925-2013), my master in economic theory
390. Cambridge Economics & the Disputation in India’s Economic Policy, Revised 15 July 2013
391. Critical assessment dated 19 August 2013 of Raghuram Rajan is here (Live Mint 19 Aug) and here
392. 23 August 2013 of Professors Jagdish Bhagwati & Amartya Sen and Dr Manmohan Singh is here…
2014
393. “Mrs Irani’s New Job”/”Task Cut Out For Smriti Irani” June 16, 2014http://www.newindianexpress.com/opinion/Task-Cut-Out-for-Smriti-Irani/2014/06/16/article2282316.ece
394. Much as I might love Russia, England, France, America, I despise their spies & local agents affecting poor India’s policies: Memo to PM Modi, Mr Jaitley, Mr Doval & the new Govt. of India: Beware of Delhi’s sleeper agents, lobbyists & other dalals
395. “Haksar, Manmohan and Sonia” August 7, 2014 New Indian Express http://t.co/bRnQI1hrwy
396. Free India’s Foreign Policy & Economy in One Chart: Weapons Imports 1950-2013 by Country of Origin
See also:
My Recent Works, Interviews etc on India’s Money, Public Finance, Banking, Trade, BoP, etc (an incomplete list)
My Seventy-One Articles, Notes Etc on Kashmir, Pakistan, & of course, India (plus my undelivered Lahore lectures)
My Ten Articles on China, Tibet, Xinjiang, Taiwan in relation to India
M1. Map of Asia c. 1900
M2. Map of Chinese Empire c. 1900
M3. Map of Sinkiang, Tibet and Neighbours 1944
M4. China’s Secretly Built 1957 Road Through India’s Aksai Chin
M5. Map of Kashmir to Sinkiang 1944
M6. Map of India-Tibet-China-Mongolia 1959
M7. Map of India, Afghanistan, Russia, China, 1897
M8. Map of Xinjiang/Sinkiang/E Turkestan
M9. Map of Bombay/Mumbai 1909
M10-M13. Himalayan Expedition, West Sikkim 1970 – 1,2,3,4

2010 version:

This an incomplete bibliography of my writings, public lectures etc 1973-2010 including citations, reviews, comments.  I have been mostly an academic economist who by choice or circumstance over 36 years has had to venture also into science, philosophy, public policy, law, jurisprudence, practical politics, history, international relations, military strategy, financial theory, accounting, management, journalism, literary criticism, psychology, psychoanalysis, theology, aesthetics, biography, children’s fables, etc.   If anything unites the seemingly diverse work recorded below it is that I have tried to acquire a grasp of the nature of human reason and then apply this comprehension in practical contexts as simply and clearly as possible. Hence I have ended up following the path of Aristotle, as described in modern times (via Wittgenstein and John Wisdom) by Renford Bambrough.  The 2004 public lecture in England, “Science, Religion, Art & the Necessity of Freedom”, may explain and illustrate all this best.  A friend has been kind enough to call me an Academician, which I probably am, though one who really needs his own Academy because the incompetence, greed and mendacity encountered too often in the modern professoriat is dispiriting.

1-289 refer mostly to writings and publications printed on paper; 290-382 refer to  writings or items not printed on paper — as new media break space, cost and other  constraints of traditional publishing, a little repetition and overlap has occurred too. Also in a few cases, e.g., Aldous Huxley’s essay on DH Lawrence, nothing has been done except discover and republish.  Several databases have been created and released in the public interest, as have been some rare maps.  There is also some biographical and autobiographical material.  Several inconsequential errors remain in the text, which shall take time to be rectified as documents come to be rediscovered and collated.

1973

1. “Behavioural study of mus musculus”, Haileybury College, Supervised by J de C Ford-Robertson MA (Oxon). (Due to be published here 2010).

2. “Chemistry at Advanced & Special Level: Student Notes 1972-73” (Due to be published here 2010).

3. “Biology at Advanced & Special Level: Student Notes 1972-73”, (Due to be published here 2010).

4.  “Physics at Advanced Level: Student Notes 1972-73”, (Due to be published here 2010).

5. “Revolution: theoria and praxis”, London, mimeo (Due to be published here 2010).

6. “Gandhi vs Marx”, London, mimeo (Due to be published here 2010).

1974

7. “Relevance of downward money-wage rigidity to the problem of maintaining full-employment in the classical and Keynesian models of income determination”, London School of Economics, mimeo (Due to be published here 2010).

8. “Testing aircraft fuels at Shell Finland”.

1975

9. “Oxford Street experiences: down and out in London town”.

10. “SE Region Bulk Distribution Survey”, Unilever, Basingstoke.

11. “Four London poems”, in JCM Paton (ed)  New Writing (London, Great Portland Street: International Students House).  (Due to be republished here 2010)

12. “On economic growth models and modellers”, London School of Economics, mimeo. (Due to be published here 2010).

1976

13. “World money: system or anarchy?”, lecture to Professor ACL Day’s seminar, London School of Economics, Economics Department, April. (Due to be published here 2010).

14. “A beginner’s guide to some recent developments in monetary theory”, lecture to Professor FH Hahn’s seminar, Cambridge University Economics Department, November 17 (Due to be published here 2010). See also “Announcement of My “Hahn Seminar”,  published here June 14 2008.

1977

15. “Inflation and unemployment: a survey”, mimeo, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. (Due to be published here 2010).

16. “On short run theories of dual economies”, Cambridge University Economics Department “substantial piece of work” required of first year Research Students.  Examiner: DMG Newbery, FBA. (Due to be published here 2010).

1978

17. “Pure theory of developing economies 1 and 2”, Delhi School of Economics mimeo (Due to be published here 2010).

18. “Introduction to some market outcomes under uncertainty”, Delhi School of Economics mimeo (Due to be published here 2010).

19. “On money and development”, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, mimeo, September.  (Due to be published here 2010)

20. “Notes on the Newbery-Stiglitz model of sharecropping”, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, mimeo November.  (Due to be published here 2010).

1979

21. “A theory of rights and economic justice”, Corpus Christi College Cambridge mimeo. (Due to be published here 2010).

22. “Monetary theory and economic development”, Corpus Christi College Cambridge, mimeo  (Due to be published here 2010).

23. “Foundations of the case against ‘development planning’”, Corpus Christi College Cambridge, mimeo, November.   (Due to be published here 2010).

1979-1989

24. Correspondence with Renford Bambrough (1926-1999), philosopher of St John’s College, Cambridge (Due to be published here 2010).

1980

25. “Models before the monetarist storm”, New Statesman letters

26. “Disciplining rulers and experts”, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, mimeo.  (Due to be published here 2010).

1981

27. “On liberty & economic growth: preface to a philosophy for India”, Cambridge University doctoral thesis, supervisor FH Hahn, FBA; examiners CJ Bliss, FBA; TW Hutchison, FBA  (Due to be published here 2010). 27a Response of FA Hayek on a partial draft February 18 1981.  27b Response of Peter Bauer, 1982.  27c Response of Theodore W Schultz, 1983.  27d. Response of Frank Hahn 1985.

1982

28. “Knowledge and freedom in economic theory Parts 1 and 2”, Centre for Study of Public Choice, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, Working Papers.

29. “Economic Theory and Development Economics”. Lecture to American Economic Association, New York, Dec 1982.  Panel: RM Solow, HB Chenery, T Weisskopf, P Streeten, G Rosen, S Roy. Published in 29a.

1983

29a “Economic Theory and Development Economics: A Comment”. World Development, 1983. [Citation: Stavros Thefanides “Metamorphosis of Development Economics”, World Development 1988.]

30. “The Political Economy of Trade Policy (Comment on J. Michael Finger)”, Washington DC: Cato Journal, Winter 1983/84. See also 000 “Risk-aversion explains resistance to freer trade”, 2008.

1984

31. “Considerations on Utility, Benevolence and Taxation”, History of Political Economy, 1984.   31a Response of Professor Sir John Hicks May 1 1984.

[Citations: P. Hennipman, “A Tale of Two Schools”, De Economist 1987, “A New Look at the Ordinalist Revolution”, J. Econ. Lit. Mar 1988; P. Rappoport, “Reply to Professor Hennipman”, J. Econ. Lit. Mar 1988; Eugene Smolensky et al “An Application of A Dynamic Cost-of-Living Index to the Evaluation of Changes in Social Welfare”, J. Post-Keynesian Econ.IX.3. 1987.]

32. Pricing, Planning and Politics: A Study of Economic Distortions in India, London: Institute of Economic Affairs, London 1984.

[Citations: Lead editorial of The Times of London May 29 1984, “India’s economy”, Times letters June 16 1984. John Toye “Political Economy & Analysis of Indian Development”, Modern Asian Studies, 22, 1, 1988; John Toye, Dilemmas of Development; D. Wilson, “Privatization of Asia”, The Banker Sep. 1984 etc].  See also 370 “Silver Jubilee of ‘Pricing, Planning and Politics: A Study of Economic Distortions in India’” 2009.

33. Review of Utilitarianism and Beyond, Amartya Sen & Bernard Williams (eds) Public Choice.

34. Review of Limits of Utilitarianism, HB Miller & WH Williams (eds.), Public Choice.

35. Deendayal lecture (one of four invited lecturers), Washington DC, May.

1987

36. (with one other) “Does the Theory of Logical Types Inform the Theory of Communication?”, Journal of Genetic Psychology., 148 (4), Dec. 1987 [Citation:

37. “Irrelevance of Foreign Aid”, India International Centre Quarterly, Winter 1987.

38. Review of Development Planning by Sukhamoy Chakravarty for Economic Affairs, London 1987.

1988

39. (with two others) “Introduction” to Lessons in Development: A Comparative Study of Asia and Latin America. San Francisco: Inst. of Economic Growth.

40. “A note on the welfare economics of regional cooperation”, lecture to Asia-Latin America conference, East West Center Honolulu, published 2009.

1989

41. Philosophy of Economics: On the Scope of Reason in Economic Inquiry, London & New York: Routledge (International Library of Philosophy) 1989, paperback 1991. Internet edition 2007.   [Reviews & Citations: Research in Economics, 1992; De Economist 1991 & 1992; Manch.Sch. Econ.Studs. 59, 1991; Ethics 101.88 Jul. 1991; Kyklos 43.4 1990; Soc. Science Q. 71.880. Dec.1990; Can. Phil. Rev. 1990; J. Econ. Hist. Sep. 1990; Econ. & Phil. Fall 1990; Econ. Affairs June-July 1990; TLS May 1990; Choice March 1990; J. App.Phil. 1994, M. Blaug: Methodology of Economics, 2nd ed., Cambridge, 1992;  Hist. Methods. 27.3, 1994; J. of Inst. & Theoretical Econ.,1994;  Jahrbucker fur Nationaleconomie 1994, 573:574. Mark A Lutz in Economics for the Common Good, London: Routledge, 1999, et al].  See also 339 “Apropos Philosophy of Economics”, Comments of Sidney Hook, KJ Arrow, Milton Friedman, TW Schultz, SS Alexander, Max Black, Renford Bambrough, John Gray et al.

42. Foreword to Essays on the Political Economy by James M. Buchanan, Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press 1989.

43. “Modern Political Economy of India”, edited by Subroto Roy & William E James,  Hawaii mimeo May 21 1989.  This published for the first time a November 1955 memorandum to the Government of India by Milton Friedman.  See also 43a, 53.

43a. Preface to “Milton Friedman’s extempore comments at the 1989 Hawaii conference: on India, Israel, Palestine, the USA, Debt and its uses, Erhardt abolishing exchange controls, Etc”,  May 22 1989, published here for the first time October 31 2008.

44. Milton Friedman’s defence of my work  in 1989.

45. Theodore W. Schultz’s defence of Philosophy of Economics

1990

46. “Letter to Judge Evelyn Lance: On A Case Study in Private International Law” (Due to be published here in 2010).

47-49. Selections from advisory work on economic policy etc for Rajiv Gandhi, Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of India,  published in 47a-49a.

1991

41b Philosophy of Economics: On the Scope of Reason in Economic Inquiry, Paperback edition.

50. “Conversations and correspondence with Rajiv Gandhi during the Gulf war, January 1991”   (Due to be published here 2010).

47a. A Memo to Rajiv I:  Stronger Secular Middle”, The Statesman, Jul 31 1991.

48a “A Memo to Rajiv II: Saving India’s Prestige”, The Statesman, Aug 1 1991.

49a “A Memo to Rajiv III: Salvation in Penny Capitalism”, The Statesman, Aug 2 1991  47b-49b “Three Memoranda to Rajiv Gandhi 1990-91”, 2007 republication here.

51. “Constitution for a Second Indian Republic”, The Saturday Statesman, April 20 1991.  Republished here 2009.

52. “On the Art of Government: Experts, Party, Cabinet and Bureaucracy”, New Delhi mimeo March 25 1991, published here July 00 2009.

1992

53. Foundations of India’s Political Economy: Towards an Agenda for the 1990s Edited and with an Introduction by Subroto Roy & William E. James New Delhi, London, Newbury Park: Sage: 1992.   Citation: Milton and Rose Friedman Two Lucky People (Chicago 1998), pp. 268-269.

54. Foundations of Pakistan’s Political Economy: Towards an Agenda for the 1990s Edited and with an Introduction by William E. James & Subroto Roy, Hawaii MS 1989, Sage: 1992, Karachi: Oxford 1993.

Reviews of 53 & 54 include: Bus. Today, Mar-Apr 1992; Political Studies March 1995; Econ Times 21 March 1993; Pakistan Development Review 1992. Hindustan Times 11 July 1992. Pacific Affairs 1993; Hindu 21 March 1993, 15 June 1993; Pakistan News International 12 June 1993. Book Reviews March 1993; Deccan Herald 2 May 1993; Pol.Econ.J. Ind. 1992. Fin Express 13 September 1992;  Statesman 16 Jan. 1993.  J. Royal Soc Asian Aff. 1994, J. Contemporary Asia, 1994 etc.

55. “Fundamental Problems of the Economies of India and Pakistan”, World Bank, Washington, mimeo  (Due to be published here 2010).

56.“The Road to Stagflation: The Coming Dirigisme in America, or, America, beware thy economists!, or Zen and Clintonomics,” Washington DC, Broad Branch Terrace, mimeo, November 17.

1993

57. “Exchange-rates and manufactured exports of South Asia”, IMF Washington DC mimeo.  Published in part in 2007-2008 as 58-62:

58. “Path of the Indian Rupee 1947-1993”, 2008.

59.  “Path of the Pakistan Rupee 1947-1993”, 2008.

60. “Path of the Sri Lankan Rupee 1948-1993”, 2008.

61. “Path of the Bangladesh Taka 1972-1993”, 2008.

62. “India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh Manufactured Exports, IMF Washington DC mimeo”, published 2007.

63. “Economic Assessment of US-India Merchandise Trade”, Arlington, Virginia, mimeo, published in slight part in Indo-US Trade & Economic Cooperation, ICRIER New Delhi, 1995, and in whole 2007.

64. “Towards an Economic Solution for Kashmir”, mimeo, Arlington, Virginia, circulated in Washington DC 1993-1995, cf 82, 111 infra. Comment of Selig Harrison.

1994

65. “Comment on Indonesia”, in The Political Economy of Policy Reform edited by John Williamson, Washington, DC: Institute for International Economics.

66a “Gold reserves & the gold price in anticipation of Central Bank behaviour”, Greenwich, Connecticut, mimeo. 67b. “Portfolio optimization and foreign currency exposure hedging” Greenwich, Connecticut mimeo.

1995

68. “On the logic and commonsense of debt and payments crises: How to avoid another Mexico in India and Pakistan”, Scarsdale, NY, mimeo, May 1.

69. “Policies for Young India”, Scarsdale, NY, pp. 350, manuscript.

1996

70. US Supreme Court documents, published in part in 2008 as  “Become a US Supreme Court Justice!” 70a, 70b (Due to be published in full here in 2010 as Roy vs University of Hawaii, 1989- including the expert testimonies of Milton Friedman and Theodore W Schultz.).

71. “Key problems of macroeconomic management facing the new Indian Government”, May 17.  Scarsdale, New York, mimeo.  (Due to be published here 2010).

72. “Preventing a collapse of the rupee”, IIT Kharagpur lecture July 16 1996.

73. “The Economist’s Representation of Technological Knowledge”, Vishleshlaya lecture to the Institution of Engineers, September 15 1996, IIT Kharagpur.

1997

74. “Union and State Budgets in India”, lecture at the World Bank, Washington DC, May 00.

75. “State Budgets in India”, IIT Kharagpur mimeo, June 6.

1998

76. “Transparency and Economic Policy-Making:  An address to the Asia-Pacific Public Relations Conference” (panel on Transparency chaired by CR Irani) Jan 30 1998, published here 2008.

77. Theodore W. Schultz 1902-1998,  Feb 25.

78. “The Economic View of Human Resources”, address to a regional conference on human resources, IIT Kharagpur.

79.  “Management accounting”, lecture at Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy, Mussourie,

80a “The Original Reformer”, Outlook letters, Jan 23 1998

81. “Recent Developments in Modern Finance”, IIM Bangalore Review, 10, 1 & 2, Jan.-Jun 1998. Reprinted as “From the Management Guru’s Classroom”: 81a “An introduction to derivatives”, Business Standard/Financial Times, Bombay 18 Apr 1999; 81b “Options in the future, Apr 25 1999; 81c “What is hedging?”, May 2 1999; 81d “Teaching computers to think”, May 9 1999.

82. “Towards an Economic Solution for Kashmir”, Jun 22 1998, lecture at Heritage Foundation, Washington DC.  Cf 111 Dec 2005.

83. “Sixteen Currencies for India: A Reverse Euro Model for Monetary & Fiscal Efficacy”, Lecture at the Institute of  Economic Affairs, London, June 29 1998.  Due to be published here 2010.

84. “Fable of the Fox, the Farmer, and the Would-Be Tailors”, October  (Published here July 27 2009).

85. “A Common Man’s Guide to Pricing Financial Derivatives”, Lecture to “National Seminar on Derivatives”, Xavier Labour Research Institute, Jamshedpur, Dec. 16 1998.   See 98.

1999

86. “An Analysis of Pakistan’s War-Winning Strategy: Are We Ready for This?”, IIT Kharagpur mimeo, published in part as 86a.“Was a Pakistani Grand Strategy Discerned in Time by India?” New Delhi:  Security & Political Risk Analysis Bulletin, July 1999, Kargil issue.  See also 000

80b. “The Original Reformer”, Outlook letters, Sep 13 1999.

2000

87. “On Freedom & the Scientific Point of View”, SN Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, Feb 17 2000.  Cf 100 below.

88. “Liberalism and Indian economic policy”, lecture at IIM Calcutta,  Indian Liberal Group Meetings Devlali, Hyderabad; also Keynote address to UGC Seminar Guntur, March 30 2002.  (Due to be published here 2010).

89. “Towards a Highly Transparent Fiscal & Monetary Framework for India’s Union & State Governments”, Invited address to Conference of State Finance Secretaries, Reserve Bank of India, Bombay, April 29, 2000.  Published 2008.

90. “On the Economics of Information Technology”, two lectures at the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore, Nov 10-11, 2000.

91. Review of A New World by Amit Chaudhuri in Literary Criterion, Mysore.

2001

92. Review of AD Shroff: Titan of Finance and Free Enterprise by Sucheta Dalal, Freedom First., January.

93. “Encounter with Rajiv Gandhi: On the Origins of the 1991 Economic Reform”, Freedom First, October. See also 93a in 2005 and  93b in 2007.

94. “A General Theory of Globalization & Modern Terrorism with Special Reference to September 11”, a keynote address to the Council for Asian Liberals & Democrats, Manila, Philippines, 16 Nov. 2001.  Published as 91a.

95. “The Case for and against The Satanic Verses: Diatribe and Dialectic as Art”, Dec 22 republished in print 95a The Statesman Festival Volume, 2006.

2002

94a “A General Theory of Globalization & Modern Terrorism with Special Reference to September 11”, in September 11 & Political Freedom in Asia, eds. Johannen, Smith & Gomez, Singapore 2002.

2002-2010

96. “Recording vivid dreams: Freud’s advice in exploring the Unconscious Mind” (Due to be published here in 2010).

2003

97. “Key principles of government accounting and audit”, IIT Kharagpur mimeo.

98. “Derivative pricing & other topics in financial theory: a student’s complete lecture notes” (Due to be published here in 2010).

2004

99. “Collapse of the Global Conversation”, International Institute for Asian Studies, Leiden, Netherlands, Jul 2004.

100. “Science, Religion, Art & the Necessity of Freedom”, a public lecture, University of Buckingham, UK, August 24 2004.  Published here 2007.

2005

93a Rajiv Gandhi and the Origins of India’s 1991 Economic Reform (this was the full story; it appeared in print for the first time in The Statesman Festival Volume 2007).

101. “Can India become an economic superpower (or will there be a monetary meltdown)?” Cardiff University Institute of Applied Macroeconomics Monetary Economics Seminar, April 13, Institute of Economic Affairs, London, April 27, Reserve Bank of India, Bombay, Chief Economist’s Seminar on Monetary Economics, May 5.

102. Margaret Thatcher’s Revolution: How it Happened and What it Meant, Edited and with an Introduction by Subroto Roy & John Clarke, London & New York: Continuum, 2005; paperback 2006; French translation by Florian Bay, 2007.

103. “Iqbal & Jinnah vs Rahmat Ali in Pakistan’s Creation”, Dawn, Karachi, Sep 3.

104. “The Mitrokhin Archives II from an Indian Perspective: A Review Article”, The Statesman, Perspective Page, Oct 11 .

105. “After the Verdict”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Oct 20.

106.   “US Espionage Failures”, The Statesman, Perspective Page, Oct 26

107.  “Waffle But No Models of Monetary Policy”, The Statesman, Perspective Page, Oct 30.

108. “On Hindus and Muslims”, The Statesman, Perspective Page, Nov 6.

109. “Assessing Vajpayee: Hindutva True and False”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Nov  13-14″.

110. “Fiction from the India Economic Summit”, The Statesman, Front Page, Nov 29.

111. “Solving Kashmir: On an Application of Reason”, The Statesman Editorial Page

I.  “Give the Hurriyat et al Indian Green Cards”, Dec 1

II.  “Choice of Nationality under Full Information”, Dec 2

III.  “Of Flags and Consulates in Gilgit etc”, Dec 3.

2006

112. “The Dream Team: A Critique”, The Statesman Editorial Page

I : New Delhi’s Consensus (Manmohantekidambaromics), Jan 6

II: Money, Convertibility, Inflationary Deficit Financing, Jan 7

III:  Rule of Law, Transparency, Government Accounting, Jan 8.

113. “Unaccountable Delhi: India’s Separation of Powers’ Doctrine”, The Statesman, Jan 13.

114. “Communists and Constitutions”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Jan 22.

115. “Diplomatic Wisdom”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Jan 31.

116.  “Mendacity & the Government Budget Constraint”, The Statesman, Front Page  Feb 3.

117. “Of Graven Images”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Feb5.

118. “Separation of Powers, Parts 1-2”, The Statesman, Editorial Pages Feb 12-13.

119. “Public Debt, Government Fantasy”, The Statesman, Front Page Editorial Comment, Feb 22.

120. “War or Peace Parts 1-2”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Feb 23-24.

121. “Can You Handle This Brief, Mr Chidambaram?” The Statesman, Front Page  Feb 26.

122. “A Downpayment On the Taj Mahal Anyone?”, The Statesman, Front Page  Comment on the Budget 2006-2007, Mar 1.

123. “Atoms for Peace (or War)”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page Mar 5.

124. “Imperialism Redux: Business, Energy, Weapons & Foreign Policy”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Mar 14.

125.  “Logic of Democracy”,  The Statesman, Editorial Page, Mar 30.

126. “Towards an Energy Policy”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Apr 2.

127. “Iran’s Nationalism”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Apr 6.

128. “A Modern Military”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Apr 16.

129.  “On Money & Banking”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Apr 23.

130.  “Lessons for India from Nepal’s Revolution”, The Statesman, Front Page Apr 26.

131. “Revisionist Flattery (Inder Malhotra’s Indira Gandhi: A Review Article)”, The Sunday Statesman, May 7.

132. “Modern World History”, The Sunday Statesman Editorial Page, May 7.

133. “Argumentative Indians: A Conversation with Professor Amartya Sen on Philosophy, Identity and Islam,” The Sunday Statesman,  May 14 2006.  “A Philosophical Conversation between Professor Sen and Dr Roy”,  2008.  Translated into Bengali by AA and published in 00.

134. “The Politics of Dr Singh”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, May 21.

135. “Corporate Governance & the Principal-Agent Problem”, lecture at a conference on corporate governance, Kolkata May 31.  Published here 2008.

136. “Pakistan’s Allies Parts 1-2”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Jun 4-5.

137. “Law, Justice and J&K Parts 1-2”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Jul 2, The Statesman Editorial Page Jul 3.

138. “The Greatest Pashtun (Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan)”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Jul 16.

139. “Understanding Pakistan Parts 1-2”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Jul 30, The Statesman Editorial Page Jul 31.

140.  “Indian Money and Credit”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Aug 6.

141.  “India’s Moon Mission”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page,  Aug 13.

142. “Jaswant’s Journeyings: A Review Article”, The Sunday Statesman Magazine, Aug 27.

143. “Our Energy Interests, Parts 1-2”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Aug 27, The Statesman Editorial Page Aug 28.

144. “Is Balochistan Doomed?”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Sep 3 2006.

145. “Racism New and Old”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Sep 8 2006

146. “Political Economy of India’s Energy Policy”, address to KAF-TERI conference, Goa Oct 7, published in 146a.

147. “New Foreign Policy? Seven phases of Indian foreign policy may be identifiable since Nehru”, Parts 1-2, The Sunday Statesman, Oct 8, The Statesman Oct 9.

148. “Justice & Afzal:  There is a difference between law and equity (or natural justice). The power of pardon is an equitable power. Commuting a death-sentence is a partial pardon”, The Sunday Statesman Editorial Page Oct 14

149. “Non-existent liberals (On a Liberal Party for India)”, The Sunday Statesman Editorial Page Oct 22.

150. “History of Jammu & Kashmir Parts 1-2”,  The Sunday Statesman, Oct 29, The Statesman Oct 30, Editorial Page.

151. “American Democracy: Does America need a Prime Minister and a longer-lived Legislature?”, The Sunday Statesman Nov 5.

152. “Milton Friedman A Man of Reason 1912-2006”, The Statesman Perspective Page,  Nov 22.

153. “Postscript to Milton Friedman Mahalanobis’s Plan  (The Mahalanobis-Nehru “Second Plan”) The Statesman Front Page Nov 22.

154.  “Mob Violence and Psychology”, Dec 10,  The Statesman, Editorial Page.

155. “What To Tell Musharraf: Peace Is Impossible Without Non-Aggressive Pakistani Intentions”, The Statesman Editorial Page Dec 15.

156. “Land, Liberty and Value: Government must act in good faith treating all citizens equally – not favouring organised business lobbies and organised labour over an unorganised peasantry”,  The Sunday Statesman Editorial Page Dec 31.

2007

157. “Hypocrisy of the CPI-M: Political Collapse In Bengal: A Mid-Term Election/Referendum Is Necessary”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Jan 9.

158. “On Land-Grabbing: Dr Singh’s India, Buddhadeb’s Bengal, Modi’s Gujarat have notorious US, Soviet and Chinese examples to follow ~ distracting from the country’s real economic problems,” The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page Jan 14.

159. “India’s Macroeconomics:  Real growth has steadily occurred because India has shared the world’s technological progress. But bad fiscal, monetary policies over decades have led to monetary weakness and capital flight” The Statesman Editorial Page Jan 20.

160. “Fiscal Instability: Interest payments quickly suck dry every year’s Budget. And rolling over old public debt means that Government Borrowing in fact much exceeds the Fiscal Deficit”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Feb 4.

161. “Our trade and payments Parts 1-2”  (“India in World Trade and Payments”),The Sunday Statesman, Feb 11 2007, The Statesman, Feb 12 2007.

162. “Our Policy Process: Self-Styled “Planners” Have Controlled India’s Paper Money For Decades,” The Statesman, Editorial Page, Feb 20.

163. “Bengal’s Finances”, The Sunday Statesman Editorial Page, Feb 25.

164. “Fallacious Finance: Congress, BJP, CPI-M may be leading India to Hyperinflation” The Statesman Editorial Page Mar 5.

165. “Uttar Pradesh Polity and Finance: A Responsible New Govt May Want To Declare A Financial Emergency” The Statesman Editorial Page, Mar 24

166. “A scam in the making” in The Sunday Statesman Front Page Apr 1 2007, published here in full as “Swindling India”.

167. “Maharashtra’s Money: Those Who Are Part Of The Problem Are Unlikely To Be A Part Of Its Solution”, The Statesman Editorial Page Apr 24.

146a. “Political Economy of Energy Policy” in India and Energy Security edited by Anant Sudarshan and Ligia Noronha, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, New Delhi 2007.

168.  “Presidential Qualities: Simplicity, Genuine Achievement Are Desirable; Political Ambition Is Not”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, May 8.

169. “We & Our Neighbours: Pakistanis And Bangladeshis Would Do Well To Learn From Sheikh Abdullah”, The Statesman, Editorial Page May 15.

170. “On Indian Nationhood: From Tamils To Kashmiris And Assamese And Mizos To Sikhs And Goans”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, May 25.

171. A Current Example of the Working of the Unconscious Mind, May 26.

172. Where I would have gone if I was Osama Bin Laden, May 31.

173. “US election ’08:America’s Presidential Campaign Seems Destined To Be Focussed On Iraq”,  The Statesman, Editorial Page, June 1.

174. “Home Team Advantage: On US-Iran talks and Sunni-Shia subtleties: Tehran must transcend its revolution and endorse the principle that the House of Islam has many mansions”,  The Sunday Statesman Editorial Page, June 3

175. “Unhealthy Delhi: When will normal political philosophy replace personality cults?”,  The Statesman, Editorial Page, June 11.

176. “American Turmoil: A Vice-Presidential Coup – And Now a Grassroots Counterrevolution?”,  The Statesman, Editorial Page, June 18

177.  “Political Paralysis: India has yet to develop normal conservative, liberal and socialist parties. The Nice-Housing-Effect and a little game-theory may explain the current stagnation”,  The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, June 24.

177. “Has America Lost? War Doctrines Of Kutusov vs Clausewitz May Help Explain Iraq War”,  The Statesman, Editorial Page, July 3.

178. “Lal Masjid ≠ Golden Temple: Wide differences are revealed between contemporary Pakistan and India by these two superficially similar military assaults on armed religious civilians”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page July 15

179 “Political Stonewalling: Only Transparency Can Improve Institutions”, The Statesman, Editorial Page July 20.

180. “Gold standard etc: Fixed versus flexible exchange rates”, July 21.

181. “US Pakistan-India Policy: Delhi & Islamabad Still Look West In Defining Their Relationship”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, July 27.

182. “Works of DH Lawrence” July 30

183. “An Open Letter to Professor Amartya Sen about Singur etc”, The Statesman, Editorial Page,  July 31.

184.  “Martin Buber on Palestine and Israel (with Postscript)”, Aug 4.

185. “Auguste Rodin on Nature, Art, Beauty, Women and Love”,  Aug 7.

186. “Saving Pakistan: A Physicist/Political Philosopher May Represent Iqbal’s “Spirit of Modern Times”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Aug 13.

187. Letter to Forbes.com  16 Aug.

188. “Need for Clarity: A poorly drafted treaty driven by business motives is a recipe for international misunderstanding”, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Aug 19.

189. “No Marxist MBAs? An amicus curiae brief for the Hon’ble High Court”,  The Statesman, FrontPage, Aug 29.

190. On Lawrence, Sep 4.

191. Dalai Lama’s Return: In the tradition of Gandhi, King, Mandela, Sep 11.

192. Of JC Bose, Patrick Geddes & the Leaf-World, Sep 12.

193. “Against Quackery: Manmohan and Sonia have violated Rajiv Gandhi’s intended reforms; the Communists have been appeased or bought; the BJP is incompetent  Parts 1-2”, in The Sunday Statesman and The Statesman, Editorial Pages of Sep 23-24.

194. Karl Georg Zinn’s 1994 Review of Philosophy of Economics, Sep 26.

195. DH Lawrence’s Phoenix, Oct 3.

93b. “Rajiv Gandhi and the Origins of India’s 1991 Economic Reform”, Statesman Festival Volume.

196. “Iran, America, Iraq: Bush’s post-Saddam Saddamism — one flip-flop too many?”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Oct 16.

197. “Understanding China: The World Needs to Ask China to Find Her True Higher Self”,  The Statesman, Editorial Page, Oct 22.

198. “India-USA interests: Elements of a serious Indian foreign policy”,  The Statesman, Editorial Page, Oct 30.

199. “China’s India Aggression : German Historians Discover Logic Behind Communist Military Strategy”,  The Statesman, Editorial Page Special Article, Nov 5.

200. Sonia’s Lying Courtier (with Postscript), Nov 25.

201. “Surrender or Fight? War is not a cricket match or Bollywood movie. Can India fight China if it must?” The Statesman, Dec 4, Editorial Page.

202. Hutton and Desai: United in Error Dec 14

203. “China’s Commonwealth: Freedom is the Road to Resolving Taiwan, Tibet, Sinkiang”,  The Statesman, Dec 17.

2008

204. “Nixon & Mao vs India: How American foreign policy did a U-turn about Communist China’s India aggression. The Government of India should publish its official history of the 1962 war.”  The Sunday Statesman, Jan 6, The Statesman Jan 7  Editorial Page.

205. “Lessons from the 1962 War:  Beginnings of a solution to the long-standing border problem: there are distinct Tibetan, Chinese and Indian points of view that need to be mutually comprehended”, The Sunday Statesman, January 13 2008.

206. “Our Dismal Politics: Will Independent India Survive Until 2047?”, The Statesman Editorial Page, Feb 1.

207. Median Voter Model of India’s Electorate Feb 7.

208. “Anarchy in Bengal: Intra-Left bandh marks the final unravelling of “Brand Buddha””, The Sunday Statesman, Editorial Page, Feb 10.

209. Fifty years since my third birthday: on life and death.

210. “Pakistan’s Kashmir obsession: Sheikh Abdullah Relied In Politics On The French Constitution, Not Islam”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Feb 16.

211.  A Note on the Indian Policy Process  Feb 21.

212. “Growth & Government Delusion: Progress Comes From Learning, Enterprise, Exchange, Not The Parasitic State”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Feb 22.

213.  “How to Budget: Thrift, Not Theft, Needs to Guide Our Public Finances”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, Feb 26.

214. “India’s Budget Process (in Theory)”, The Statesman, Front Page Feb 29.

215.  “Irresponsible Governance: Congress, BJP, Communists, BSP, Sena Etc Reveal Equally Bad Traits”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, March 4.

216. “American Politics: Contest Between Obama And Clinton Affects The World”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, March 11.

217. “China’s India Example: Tibet, Xinjiang May Not Be Assimilated Like Inner Mongolia And Manchuria”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, March 25.

218. “Taxation of India’s Professional Cricket: A Proposal”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, April 1.

219. “Two cheers for Pakistan!”,  The Statesman, Editorial Page, April 7.

220. “Indian Inflation: Upside Down Economics From The New Delhi Establishment Parts 1-2”, The Statesman, Editorial Page, April 15-16.

221. “Assessing Manmohan: The Doctor of Deficit Finance should realise the currency is at stake”, The Statesman, Editorial Page Apr 25.

222. John Wisdom, Renford Bambrough: Main Philosophical Works, May 8.

223.  “All India wept”: On the death of Rajiv Gandhi,  May 21.

224. “China’s force and diplomacy: The need for realism in India” The Statesman, Editorial Page May 31.

226. Serendipity and the China-Tibet-India border problem  June 6

227. “Leadership vacuum: Time & Tide Wait For No One In Politics: India Trails Pakistan & Nepal!”, The Statesman Editorial Page June 7.

228. My meeting Jawaharlal Nehru Oct13 1962

229.  Manindranath Roy 1891-1958

230. Surendranath Roy 1860-1929

231.  The Roys of Behala 1928.

232. Sarat Chandra visits Surendranath Roy 1927

233. Nuksaan-Faida Analysis = Cost-Benefit Analysis in Hindi/Urdu Jun 30

234.  One of many reasons John R Hicks was a great economist July 3

236.  My father, Indian diplomat, in the Shah’s Tehran 1954-57  July 8

237 Distribution of Govt of India Expenditure (Net of Operational Income) 1995 July 27

238. Growth of Real Income, Money & Prices in India 1869-2008, July 28.

239. Communism from Social Democracy? But not in India or China!  July 29

240. Death of Solzhenitsyn, Aug. 3

240a. Tolstoy on Science and Art, Aug 4.

241. “Reddy`s reckoning: Where should India’s real interest rate be relative to the world?” Business Standard Aug 10

242. “Rangarajan Effect”, Business Standard Aug 24

243. My grandfather’s death in Ottawa 50 years ago today  Sep 3

244. My books in the Library of Congress and British Library Sep 12

245. On Jimmy Carter & the “India-US Nuclear Deal”, Sep 12

246. My father after presenting his credentials to President Kekkonen of Finland Sep 14 1973.

247. “October 1929?  Not!”, Business Standard, Sep 18.

248. “MK Gandhi, SN Roy, MA Jinnah in March 1919: Primary education legislation in a time of protest”

249. 122 sensible American economists Sept 26

250. Govt of India: Please call in the BBC and ask them a question Sep 27

251. “Monetary Integrity and the Rupee:  Three British Raj relics have dominated our macroeconomic policy-making” Business Standard Sep 28.

252a.  Rabindranath’s daughter writes to her friend my grandmother Oct 5

252b.  A Literary Find: Modern Poetry in Bengal, Oct 6.

253. Sarat writes to Manindranath 1931,  Oct 12

254. Origins of India’s Constitutional Politics 1913

255. Indira Gandhi in Paris, 1971

256. How the Liabilities/Assets Ratio of Indian Banks Changed from 84% in 1970 to 108% in 1998, October 20

257a. My Subjective Probabilities on India’s Moon Mission Oct 21

258. Complete History of Mankind’s Moon Missions: An Indian Citizen’s Letter to ISRO’s Chairman, Oct 22.

259. Would not a few million new immigrants solve America’s mortgage crisis? Oct 26

260. “America’s divided economists”, Business Standard Oct 26

261. One tiny prediction about the Obama Administration, Nov 5

262. Rai Bahadur Umbika Churn Rai, 1827-1902,  Nov 7 2008

263. Jawaharlal Nehru invites my father to the Mountbatten Farewell  Nov 7 2008

70a. “Become a US Supreme Court Justice! (Explorations in the Rule of Law in America) Preface” Nov 9

70b. “Become a US Supreme Court Justice! (Explorations in the Rule of Law in America) Password protected.” Nov 9.

257b. Neglecting technological progress was the basis of my pessimism about Chandrayaan,  Nov 9.

264. Of a new New Delhi myth and the success of the University of Hawaii 1986-1992 Pakistan project Nov 15

265. Pre-Partition Indian Secularism Case-Study: Fuzlul Huq and Manindranath Roy Nov 16

266. Do President-elect Obama’s Pakistan specialists suppose Maulana Azad, Dr Zakir Hussain, Sheikh Abdullah were Pakistanis (or that Sheikh Mujib wanted to remain one)?  Nov 18

267. Jews have never been killed in India for being Jews until this sad day, Nov 28.

268. In international law, Pakistan has been the perpetrator, India the victim of aggression in Mumbai,  Nov 30.

269. The Indian Revolution, Dec 1.

270. Habeas Corpus: a captured terrorist mass-murderer tells a magistrate he has not been mistreated by Mumbai’s police Dec 3

271. India’s Muslim Voices (Or, Let us be clear the Pakistan-India or Kashmir conflicts have not been Muslim-Hindu conflicts so much as intra-Muslim conflicts about Muslim identity and self-knowledge on the Indian subcontinent), Dec 4

272. “Anger Management” needed? An Oxford DPhil recommends Pakistan launch a nuclear first strike against India within minutes of war, Dec 5.

273. A Quick Comparison Between the September 11 2001 NYC-Washington attacks and the November 26-28 2008 Mumbai Massacres (An Application of the Case-by-Case Philosophical Technique of Wittgenstein, Wisdom and Bambrough), Dec 6

274. Dr Rice finally gets it right (and maybe Mrs Clinton will too) Dec 7

275. Will the Government of India’s new macroeconomic policy dampen or worsen the business-cycle (if such a cycle exists at all)? No one knows! “Where ignorance is bliss, ‘Tis folly to be wise.”  Dec 7

276. Pump-priming for car-dealers: Keynes groans in his grave (If evidence was needed of the intellectual dishonesty of New Delhi’s new macroeconomic policy, here it is) Dec 9.

277. Congratulations to Mumbai’s Police: capturing a terrorist, affording him his Habeas Corpus rights, getting him to confess within the Rule of Law, sets a new world standard  Dec 10

278. Two cheers — wait, let’s make that one cheer — for America’s Justice Department, Dec 10

279. Will Pakistan accept the bodies of nine dead terrorists who came from Pakistan to Mumbai? If so, let there be a hand-over at the Wagah border, Dec 11.

280. Kasab was a stupid, ignorant, misguided youth, manufactured by Pakistan’s terrorist masterminds into becoming a mass-murdering robot: Mahatma Gandhi’s India should punish him, get him to repent if he wishes, then perhaps rehabilitate him as a potent weapon against Pakistani terrorism Dec 12.

281. Pakistan’s New Delhi Embassy should ask for “Consular Access” to nine dead terrorists in a Mumbai morgue before asking to meet Kasab, Dec 13

282. An Indian Reply to President Zardari: Rewarding Pakistan for bad behaviour leads to schizophrenic relationships Dec 19

283. Is my prediction about Caroline Kennedy becoming US Ambassador to Britain going to be correct?  Dec 27

284. Chandrayaan adds a little good cheer! Well done, ISRO!, Dec 28

285. How sad that “Slumdog millionaire” is SO disappointing! Dec 31

289. (with Claude Arpi) “Transparency & history: India’s archives must be opened to world standards” Business Standard New Delhi Dec 31, 2008, published here Jan 1 .

2009

290. A basis of India-Pakistan cooperation on the Mumbai massacres: the ten Pakistani terrorists started off as pirates and the Al-Huseini is a pirate ship Jan 1.

291. India’s “pork-barrel politics” needs a nice (vegetarian) Hindi name! “Teli/oily politics” perhaps? (And are we next going to see a Bill of Rights for Lobbyists?) Jan 3

292. My (armchair) experience of the 1999 Kargil war (Or, “Actionable Intelligence” in the Internet age: How the Kargil effort got a little help from a desktop)  Jan 5

293. How Jammu & Kashmir’s Chief Minister Omar Abdullah can become a worthy winner of the Nobel Peace Prize: An Open Letter,  Jan 7

294. Could the Satyam/PwC fraud be the visible part of an iceberg? Where are India’s “Generally Accepted Accounting Principles”? Isn’t governance rather poor all over corporate India? Bad public finance may be a root cause Jan 8

295. Satyam does not exist: it is bankrupt, broke, kaput. Which part of this does the new “management team” not get? The assets belong to Satyam’s creditors. Jan 8

296. Jews are massacred in Mumbai and now Jews commit a massacre in Gaza!  Jan 9

297. And now for the Great Satyam Whitewash/Cover-Up/Public Subsidy! The wrong Minister appoints the wrong new Board who, probably, will choose the wrong policy Jan 12

298. Letter to Wei Jingsheng  Jan 14

299. Memo to the Hon’ble Attorneys General of Pakistan & India: How to jointly prosecute the Mumbai massacre perpetrators most expeditiously Jan 16

300. Satyam and IT-firms in general may be good candidates to become “Labour-Managed” firms Jan 18

301. “Yes we might be able to do that. Perhaps we ought to. But again, perhaps we ought not to, let me think about it…. Most important is Cromwell’s advice: Think it possible we may be mistaken!” Jan 20.

302. RAND’s study of the Mumbai attacks Jan 25

303. Didn’t Dr Obama (the new American President’s late father) once publish an article in Harvard’s Quarterly Journal of Economics? (Or did he?) Jan 25.

304. “A Dialogue in Macroeconomics” 1989 etc: sundry thoughts on US economic policy discourse Jan 30

305. American Voices: A Brief Popular History of the United States in 20 You-Tube Music Videos Feb 5

306. Jaladhar Sen writes to Manindranath at Surendranath’s death, Feb 23

307. Pakistani expansionism: India and the world need to beware of “Non-Resident Pakistanis” ruled by Rahmat Ali’s ghost, Feb 9

308. My American years Part One 1980-90: battles for academic integrity & freedom Feb 11.

309. Thanks and well done Minister Rehman Malik and the Govt of Pakistan Feb 12

310. Can President Obama resist the financial zombies (let alone slay them)? His economists need to consult Dr Anna J Schwartz Feb 14

311. A Brief History of Gilgit, Feb 18

312. Memo to UCLA Geographers: Commonsense suggests Mr Bin Laden is far away from the subcontinent Feb 20

313. The BBC gets its history and geography deliberately wrong again Feb 21

314. Bengal Legislative Council 1921, Feb 28

315. Carmichael visits Surendranath, 1916, Mar 1

316. Memo to GoI CLB: India discovered the Zero, and 51% of Zero is still Zero Mar 10

317. An Academic Database of Doctoral & Other Postgraduate Research Done at UK Universities on India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Other Asian Countries Over 100 Years, Mar 13

318. Pakistan’s progress, Mar 18

319. Risk-aversion explains resistance to free trade, Mar 19

320. India’s incredibly volatile inflation rate!  Mar 20

321. Is “Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona” referring to an emasculation of (elite) American society?,  Mar 21

322. Just how much intellectual fraud can Delhi produce? Mar 26

323. India is not a monarchy! We urgently need to universalize the French concept of “citoyen”!  Mar 28

324. Could this be the real state of some of our higher education institutions? Mar 29

325. Progress! The BBC retracts its prevarication! Mar 30

326. Aldous Huxley’s Essay “DH Lawrence” Mar 31

327. Waffle not institutional reform is what (I predict) the “G-20 summit” will produce, April 1

328. Did a full cricket team of Indian bureaucrats follow our PM into 10 Downing Street? Count for yourself! April 3

329. Will someone please teach the BJP’s gerontocracy some Economics 101 on an emergency basis?  April 5

330. The BBC needs to determine exactly where it thinks Pakistan is!, April 5

331. Alfred Lyall on Christians, Muslims, India, China, Etc, 1908, April 6

332. An eminent economist of India passes away April 9

333. Democracy Database for the Largest Electorate Ever Seen in World History, April 12

334. Memo to the Election Commission of India April 14 2009, 9 AM, April 14

335. Caveat emptor! Satyam is taken over, April 14

336. India’s 2009 General Elections: Candidates, Parties, Symbols for Polls on 16-30 April Phases 1,2,3, April 15

337. On the general theory of expertise in democracy: reflections on what emerges from the American “torture memos” today, April 18

338. India’s 2009 General Elections: 467 constituencies (out of 543) for which candidates have been announced as of 1700hrs April 21, April 21

339. Apropos Philosophy of Economics, Comments of Sidney Hook, KJ Arrow, Milton Friedman, TW Schultz, SS Alexander, Max Black, Renford Bambrough, John Gray et al., April 22.

340. India’s 2009 General Elections: Names of all 543 Constituencies of the 15th Lok Sabha, April 22.

341. India’s 2009 General Elections: How 4125 State Assembly Constituencies comprise the 543 new Lok Sabha Constituencies, April 23.

342. Why has America’s “torture debate” yet to mention the obvious? Viz., sadism and racism, April 24

343. India’s 2009 General Elections: the advice of the late “George Eliot” (Mary Ann Evans, 1819-1880) to India’s voting public, April 24.

344. India’s 2009 General Elections: Delimitation and the Different Lists of 543 Lok Sabha Constituencies in 2009 and 2004, April 25

345. Is “Slumdog Millionaire” the single worst Best Picture ever?

346. India’s 2009 General Elections: Result of Delimitation — Old (2004) and New (2009) Lok Sabha and Assembly Constituencies, April 26

347. India’s 2009 General Elections: 7019 Candidates in 485 (out of 543) Constituencies announced as of April 26 noon April 26

348. What is Christine Fair referring to? Would the MEA kindly seek to address what she has claimed asap? April 27

349. Politics can be so entertaining 🙂 Manmohan versus Sonia on the poor old CPI(M)!, April 28

350. A Dozen Grown-Up Questions for Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, LK Advani, Sharad Pawar, Km Mayawati and Anyone Else Dreaming of Becoming/Deciding India’s PM After the 2009 General Elections, April 28

351. India’s 2009 General Elections: How drastically will the vote-share of political parties change from 2004? May 2

352. India’s 2009 General Elections: And now finally, all 8,070 Candidates across all 543 Lok Sabha Constituencies, May 5

353. India’s 2009 General Elections: The Mapping of Votes into Assembly Segments Won into Parliamentary Seats Won in the 2004 Election, May 7

354. Will Messrs Advani, Rajnath Singh & Modi ride into the sunset if the BJP comes to be trounced? (Corrected), May 10

355. India’s 2009 General Elections: 543 Matrices to Help Ordinary Citizens Audit the Election Commission’s Vote-Tallies  May 12

356. Well done Sonia-Rahul! Two hours before polls close today, I am willing to predict a big victory for you (but, please, try to get your economics right, and also, you must get Dr Singh a Lok Sabha seat if he is to be PM) May 13

357. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee must dissolve the West Bengal Assembly if he is an honest democrat: Please try to follow Gerard Schröder’s example even slightly! May 16

358. India’s 2009 General Elections: Provisional Results from the EC as of 1400 hours Indian Standard Time May 16

359. Memo to the Hon’ble President of India: It is Sonia Gandhi, not Manmohan Singh, who should be invited to our equivalent of the “Kissing Hands” Ceremony May 16

360. Time for heads to roll in the BJP/RSS and CPI(M)!, May 17.

361. Inviting a new Prime Minister of India to form a Government: Procedure Right and Wrong  May 18

362. Starting with Procedural Error: Why has the “Cabinet” of the 14th Lok Sabha been meeting today AFTER the results of the Elections to the 15th Lok Sabha have been declared?!  May 18

363. Why has the Sonia Congress done something that the Congress under Nehru-Indira-Rajiv would not have done, namely, exaggerate the power of the Rajya Sabha and diminish the power of the Lok Sabha? May 21

364. Shouldn’t Dr Singh’s Cabinet begin with a small apology to the President of India for discourtesy? May we have reviews and reforms of protocols and practices to be followed at Rashtrapati Bhavan and elsewhere?  May 23

365. Parliament’s sovereignty has been diminished by the Executive: A record for future generations to know May 25

366. How tightly will organised Big Business be able to control economic policies this time? May 26

367. Why does India not have a Parliament ten days after the 15th Lok Sabha was elected? Nehru and Rajiv would both have been appalled May 27

368. Eleven days and counting after the 15th Lok Sabha was elected and still no Parliament of India! (But we do have 79 Ministers — might that be a world record?) May 28

369. Note to Posterity: 79 Ministers in office but no 15th Lok Sabha until June 1 2009! May 29

370. Silver Jubilee of Pricing, Planning & Politics: A Study of Economic Distortions in India May 29

371. How to Design a Better Cabinet for the Government of India May 29

372. Parliament is supposed to control the Government, not be bullied or intimidated by it: Will Rahul Gandhi be able to lead the Backbenches in the 15th Lok Sabha? June 1

373. Mistaken Macroeconomics: An Open Letter to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, June 12

374. Why did Manmohan Singh and LK Advani apologise to one another? Is Indian politics essentially collusive, not competitive, aiming only to preserve and promote the post-1947 Dilli Raj at the expense of the whole of India? We seem to have no Churchillian repartee (except perhaps from Bihar occasionally) June 18

375. Are Iran’s Revolutionaries now Reactionaries? George Orwell would have understood. A fresh poll may be the only answer Are Iran’s Revolutionaries now Reactionaries? George Orwell would have understood. A fresh poll may be the only answer  June 22

376. My March 25 1991 memo to Rajiv (which never reached him) is something the present Government seems to have followed: all for the best of course! July 12

377. Disquietude about France’s behaviour towards India on July 14 2009 July 14

378. Does the Govt. of India assume “foreign investors and analysts” are a key constituency for Indian economic policy-making? If so, why so? Have Govt. economists “learnt nothing, forgotten everything”? Some Bastille Day thoughts July 14

379. Letter to the GoI’s seniormost technical economist, May 21.July 19

380. Excuse me but young Kasab in fact confessed many months ago, immediately after he was captured – he deserves 20 or 30 years in an Indian prison, and a chance to become a model prisoner who will stand against the very terrorists who sent him on his vile mission  July 20

381. Finally, three months late, the GoI responds to American and Pakistani allegations about Balochistan July 24

382.  Thoughts, words, deeds: My work 1973-2010

M1. Map of Asia c. 1900

M2. Map of Chinese Empire c. 1900

M3. Map of Sinkiang, Tibet and Neighbours 1944

M4. China’s Secretly Built 1957 Road Through India’s Aksai Chin

M5. Map of Kashmir to Sinkiang 1944

M6. Map of India-Tibet-China-Mongolia 1959

M7. Map of India, Afghanistan, Russia, China, 1897

M8. Map of Xinjiang/Sinkiang/E Turkestan

M9. Map of Bombay/Mumbai 1909

M10-M13. Himalayan Expedition, West Sikkim 1970 – 1,2,3,4

My American years Part One 1980-90: battles for academic integrity & freedom

On the Blacksburg campus February 1982, my second year in America.

I had come to Blacksburg in August 1980 thanks to a letter Professor Frank Hahn had written on my behalf to Professor James M Buchanan in January 1980.

I was in an “All But Dissertation” stage at Cambridge when I got to Blacksburg; I completed the thesis while teaching in Blacksburg, sent it from there in September 1981, and went back to Cambridge for the viva voce examination in January 1982.

Professor Buchanan and his colleagues were welcoming and I came to learn much from them about the realities of public finance and democratic politics, which I very soon applied to my work on India.

Jim Buchanan had a reputation for running very tough conferences of scholars. He invited me to one such in the Spring of 1981. We were made to work very hard indeed. One of the books prescribed is still with me, In Search of a Monetary Constitution, ed. Leland Yeager, Harvard 1962, and something I still recommend to anyone wishing to understand the classical liberal position on monetary policy. The week-long 1981 conference had one rest-day; it was spent in part at an excellent theatre in a small rural town outside Blacksburg. This photo is of Jim Buchanan on the left and Gordon Tullock on the right; in between them is Ken Minogue of the London School of Economics — who, as it happened, had been Tutor for Admissions when I became a freshman there seven years earlier.

(I must have learnt something from Jim Buchanan about running conferences because nine years later in May-June 1989 at the University of Hawaii, I made the participants of the India-perestroika and Pakistan-perestroika conferences work very hard too.)

My first rooms in America in 1980 were in the attic of 703 Gracelyn Court, where I paid $160 or $170 per month to my marvellous landlady Betty Tillman. There were many family occasions I enjoyed with her family downstairs, and her cakes, bakes and puddings all remain with me today.

A borrowed electric typewriter may be seen in the photo: the age of the personal computer was still a few years away. The Department had a stand-alone “AB-Dic” word-processor which we considered a marvel of technology; the Internet did not exist but there was some kind of Intranet between geeks in computer science and engineering departments at different universities.

It was at Gracelyn Court that this letter reached me addressed by FA Hayek himself.

Professor Buchanan had moved to Blacksburg from Charlottesville some years earlier with the Centre for Study of Public Choice that he had founded. The Centre came to be housed at the President’s House of Virginia Tech (presumably the University President himself had another residence).

I was initially a Visiting Research Associate at the Centre and at the same time a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Economics Department. I was very kindly given a magnificent office at the Centre, on the upper floor, perhaps the one on the upper right hand side in the picture. It was undoubtedly the finest room I have ever had as an office. I may have had it for a whole year, either 1980-81 or 1981-82. When Professor Buchanan and the Centre left for George Mason University in 1983, the mansion returned to being the University President’s House and my old office presumably became a fine bedroom again.

I spent the summer of 1983 at a long libertarian conference in the Palo Alto/Menlo Park area in California. This is a photo from a barbecue during the conference with Professor Jean Baechler from France on the left; Leonard Liggio, who (along with Walter Grinder) had organised the conference, is at the right.

The first draft of the book that became Philosophy of Economics was written (in long hand) during that summer of 1983 in Palo Alto/Menlo Park. The initial title was “Principia Economica”, and the initial contracted publisher, the University of Chicago Press, had that title on the contract.

My principal supporter at the University of Chicago was that great American Theodore W. Schultz, then aged 81,

to whom the Press had initially sent the manuscript for review and who had recommended its prompt publication. Professor Schultz later told me to my face better what my book was about than I had realised myself, namely, it was about economics as knowledge, the epistemology of economics.

My parents came from India to visit me in California, and here we are at Yosemite.

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Also to visit were Mr and Mrs Willis C Armstrong, our family friends who had known me from infancy. This is a photo of Bill and my mother on the left, and Louise and myself on the right, taken perhaps by my father. In the third week of January 1991, during the first Gulf War, Bill and I (acting on behalf of Rajiv Gandhi) came to form an extremely tenuous bridge between the US Administration and Saddam Hussain for about 24 hours, in an attempt to get a withdrawal of Iraq from Kuwait without further loss of life. In December 1991 I gave the widow of Rajiv Gandhi a small tape containing my long-distance phone conversations from America with Rajiv during that episode.

I had driven with my sheltie puppy from Blacksburg to Palo Alto  — through Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona; my parents and I now drove with him back to Blacksburg from California, through Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia.  It may be a necessary though not sufficient condition to drive across America (or any other country) in order to understand it.

After a few days, we drove to New York via Pennsylvania where I became Visiting Assistant Professor in the Cornell Economics Department (on leave from being Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech). The few months at Cornell were noteworthy for the many long sessions I spent with Max Black. I shall add more about that here in due course. My parents returned to India (via Greece where my sister was) in the Autumn of 1983.

In May 1984, Indira Gandhi ruled in Delhi, and the ghost of Brezhnev was still fresh in Moscow. The era of Margaret Thatcher in Britain and Ronald Reagan in America was at its height. Pricing, Planning & Politics: A Study of Economic Distortions in India emerging from my doctoral thesis though written in Blacksburg and Ithaca in 1982-1983, came to be published by London’s Institute of Economic Affairs on May 29 as Occasional Paper No. 69, ISBN: 0-255 36169-6; its text is reproduced elsewhere here.

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It was the first critique after BR Shenoy of India’s Sovietesque economics since Jawaharlal Nehru’s time. The Times, London’s most eminent paper at the time, wrote its lead editorial comment about it on the day it was published, May 29 1984.

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It used to take several days for the library at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg to receive its copy of The Times of London and other British newspapers. I had not been told of the date of publication and did not know of what had happened in London on May 29 until perhaps June 2 — when a friend, Vasant Dave of a children’s charity, who was on campus, phoned me and congratulated me for being featured in The Times which he had just read in the University Library. “You mean they’ve reviewed it?” I asked him, “No, it’s the lead editorial.” “What?” I exclaimed. There was worse. Vasant was very soft-spoken and said “Yes, it’s titled ‘India’s Bad Example’” — which I misheard on the phone as “India’s Mad Example” 😀 Drat! I thought (or words to that effect), they must have lambasted me, as I rushed down to the Library to take a look.

The Times had said

“When Mr. Dennis Healey in the Commons recently stated that Hongkong, with one per cent of the population of India has twice India’s trade, he was making an important point about Hongkong but an equally important point about India. If Hongkong with one per cent of its population and less than 0.03 per cert of India’s land area (without even water as a natural resource) can so outpace India, there must be something terribly wrong with the way Indian governments have managed their affairs, and there is. A paper by an Indian economist published today (Pricing, Planning and Politics: A Study of Economic Distortions in India by Subroto Roy, IEA £1.80) shows how Asia’s largest democracy is gradually being stifled by the imposition of economic policies whose woeful effect and rhetorical unreality find their echo all over the Third World. As with many of Britain’s former imperial possessions, the rot set in long before independence. But as with most of the other former dependencies, the instrument of economic regulation and bureaucratic control set up by the British has been used decisively and expansively to consolidate a statist regime which inhibits free enterprise, minimizes economic success and consolidates the power of government in all spheres of the economy. We hear little of this side of things when India rattles the borrowing bowl or denigrates her creditors for want of further munificence. How could Indian officials explain their poor performance relative to Hongkong? Dr Roy has the answers for them. He lists the causes as a large and heavily subsidized public sector, labyrinthine control over private enterprise, forcibly depressed agricultural prices, massive import substitution, government monopoly of foreign exchange transactions, artificially overvalued currency and the extensive politicization of the labour market, not to mention the corruption which is an inevitable side effect of an economy which depends on the arbitrament of bureaucrats. The first Indian government under Nehru took its cue from Nehru’s admiration of the Soviet economy, which led him to believe that the only policy for India was socialism in which there would be “no private property except in a restricted sense and the replacement of the private profit system by a higher ideal of cooperative service.” Consequently, the Indian government has now either a full monopoly or is one of a few oligipolists in banking, insurance, railways, airlines, cement, steel, chemicals, fertilizers, ship-building, breweries, telephones and wrist-watches. No businessman can expand his operation while there is any surplus capacity anywhere in that sector. He needs government approval to modernize, alter his price-structure, or change his labour shift. It is not surprising that a recent study of those developing countries which account for most manufactured exports from the Third World shows that India’s share fell from 65 percent in 1953 to 10 per cent in 1973; nor, with the numerous restrictions on inter-state movement of grains, that India has over the years suffered more from an inability to cope with famine than during the Raj when famine drill was centrally organized and skillfully executed without restriction. Nehru’s attraction for the Soviet model has been inherited by his daughter, Mrs. Gandhi. Her policies have clearly positioned India more towards the Soviet Union than the West. The consequences of this, as Dr Roy states, is that a bias can be seen in “the antipathy and pessimism towards market institutions found among the urban public, and sympathy and optimism to be found for collectivist or statist ones.” All that India has to show for it is the delivery of thousands of tanks in exchange for bartered goods, and the erection of steel mills and other heavy industry which help to perpetuate the unfortunate obsession with industrial performance at the expense of agricultural growth and the relief of rural poverty.”…..

I felt this may have been intended to be laudatory but it was also inaccurate and had to be corrected. I replied dated June 4 which The Times published in their edition of June 16 1984:

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I was 29 when Pricing, Planning and Politics was published, I am 54 now. I do not agree with everything I said in it and find the tone a little puffed up as young men tend to be; it was also five years before my main “theoretical” work Philosophy of Economics would be published. My experience of life in the years since has also made me far less sanguine both about human nature and about America than I was then. But I am glad to find I am not embarrassed by what I said then, indeed I am pleased I said what I did in favour of classical liberalism and against statism and totalitarianism well before it became popular to do so after the Berlin Wall fell. (In India as elsewhere, former communist apparatchiks and fellow-travellers became pseudo-liberals overnight.)

The editorial itself may have been due to a conversation between Peter Bauer and William Rees-Mogg, so I later heard. The work sold 700 copies in its first month, a record for the publisher. The wife of one prominent Indian bureaucrat told me in Delhi in December 1988 it had affected her husband’s thinking drastically. A senior public finance economist told me he had been deputed at the Finance Ministry when the editorial appeared, and the Indian High Commission in London had urgently sent a copy of the editorial to the Ministry where it caused a stir. An IMF official told me years later that he saw the editorial on board a flight to India from the USA on the same day, and stopped in London to make a trip to the LSE’s bookshop to purchase a copy. Professor Jagdish Bhagwati of Columbia University had been a critic of aspects of Indian policy; he received a copy of the monograph in draft just before it was published and was kind enough to write I had “done an excellent job of setting out the problems afflicting our economic policies, unfortunately government-made problems!”  My great professor at Cambridge, Frank Hahn, would be kind enough to say that he thought my “critique of Development Economics was powerful not only on methodological but also on economic theory grounds” — something that has been a source of delight to me.

Siddhartha Shankar Ray told me when we first met that he had been in London when the editorial appeared and had seen it there; it affected his decision to introduce me to Rajiv Gandhi as warmly as he came to do a half dozen years later.

In the Autumn of 1984, I went, thanks to Edwin Feulner Jr of the Heritage Foundation,  to attend the Mont Pelerin Society Meetings being held at Cambridge (on “parole” from the US immigration authorities as my “green card” was being processed at the time). There I met for the first time Professor and Mrs Milton Friedman.

Milton Friedman’s November 1955 memorandum to the Government of India is referred to in my monograph as “unpublished” in note 1; when I met Milton and Rose, I gave them a copy of my monograph; and requested Milton for his unpublished document; when he returned to Stanford he sent to me in Blacksburg his original 1955-56 documents on Indian planning. I published the 1955 document for the first time in May 1989 during the University of Hawaii perestroika-for-India project I was then leading, it appeared later in the 1992 volume Foundations of India’s Political Economy: Towards an Agenda for the 1990s, edited by myself and WE James. (The results of the Hawaii project reached Rajiv Gandhi through my hand in September 1990, as told elsewhere here in “Rajiv Gandhi and the Origins of India’s 1991 Economic Reform”.) The 1956 document was published in November 2006 on the front page of The Statesman, the same day my obituary of Milton appeared in the inside pages.

Meanwhile, my main work within economic theory, the “Principia Economica” manuscript, was being read by the University of Chicago Press’s five or six anonymous referees. One of them pointed out my argument had been anticipated years earlier in the work of MIT’s Sidney Stuart Alexander. I had no idea of this and was surprised; of course I knew Professor Alexander’s work in balance of payments theory but not in this field. I went to visit Professor Alexander in Boston, where this photo came to be taken perhaps in late 1984:

Professor Alexander was extremely gracious, and immediately declared with great generosity that it was clear to him my arguments in “Principia Economica” had been developed entirely independently of his work. He had come at the problem from an American philosophical tradition of Dewey, I had done so from a British tradition of Wittgenstein. (CS Peirce was probably the bridge between the two.) He and I had arrived at some similar conclusions but we had done so completely independently.

Also, I was much honoured by this letter of May 1 1984 sent to Blacksburg by Professor Sir John Hicks (1904-1989), among the greatest of 20th Century economists at the time, where he acknowledged his departure in later life from the position he had taken in 1934 and 1939 on the foundations of demand theory.

He later sent me a copy of his Wealth and Welfare: Collected Essays on Economic Theory, Vol. I, MIT Press 1981, as a gift. The context of our correspondence had to do with my criticism of the young Hicks and support for the ghost of Alfred Marshall in an article “Considerations on Utility, Benevolence and Taxation” I was publishing in the journal History of Political Economy published then at Duke University. In Philosophy of Economics, I would come to say about Hicks’s letter to me “It may be a sign of the times that economists, great and small, rarely if ever disclaim their past opinions; it is therefore an especially splendid example to have a great economist like Hicks doing so in this matter.” It was reminiscent of Gottlob Frege’s response to Russell’s paradox; Philosophy of Economics described Frege’s “Letter to Russell”, 1902 (Heijenoort, From Frege to Gödel, pp. 126-128) as “a document which must remain one of the most noble in all of modern scholarship; a fact recorded in Russell’s letter to Heijenoort.”

In Blacksburg, by the Summer and Fall of 1984 I was under attack following the arrival of what I considered “a gang of inert game theorists” — my theoretical manuscript had blown a permanent hole through what passes by the name of “social choice theory”, and they did not like it. Nor did they like the fact that I seemed to them to be a “conservative”/classical liberal Indian and my applied work on India’s economy seemed to their academic agenda an irrelevance. This is myself at the height of that attack in January 1985:

Professor Schultz at the University of Chicago came to my rescue and at his recommendation I was appointed Visiting Associate Professor in the Economics Department at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

I declined, without thanks, the offer of another year at Virginia Tech.

On my last day in Blacksburg, a graduate student whom I had helped when she had been assaulted by a senior professor, cooked a meal before I started the drive West across the country. This is a photo from that meal:

In Provo, I gratefully found refuge at the excellent Economics Department led at the time by Professor Larry Wimmer.

It was at Provo that I first had a personal computer on my desk (an IBM as may be seen) and what a delight that was (no matter the noises that it made).  I recall being struck by the fact a colleague possessed the incredible luxury of a portable personal computer (no one else did) which he could take home with him.   It looked like an enormous briefcase but was apparently the technology-leader at the time.  (Laptops seem not to have been invented as of 1985).

In October 1985, Professor Frank Hahn very kindly wrote to Larry Wimmer revising his 1980 opinion of my work now that the PhD was done, the India-work had led to The Times editorial and the theoretical work was proceeding well.

I had applied for a permanent position at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, and had been interviewed positively at the American Economic Association meetings (in New York) in December 1985 by the department chairman Professor Fred C. Hung. At Provo, Dr James Moncur of the Manoa Department was visiting. Jim became a friend and recommended me to his colleagues in Manoa.

Professor Hung appointed me to that department as a “senior” Assistant Professor on tenure-track beginning September 1986. I had bargained for a rank of “Associate Professor” but was told the advertisement did not allow it; instead I was assured of being an early candidate for promotion and tenure subject to my book “Principia Economica” being accepted for publication. (The contract with the University of Chicago Press had become frayed.)

Hawaii was simply a superb place (though expensive).

Professor James Buchanan won the Economics “Nobel” in 1986 and I was asked by the Manoa Department to help raise its profile by inviting him to deliver a set of lectures, which he did excellently well in March 1988 to the University as well as the Honolulu community at large. Here he is at my 850 sq ft small condominium at Punahou Towers, 1621 Dole Street:

In August 1988, my manuscript “Principia Economica” was finally accepted for publication by Routledge of London and New York under the title Philosophy of Economics: On the Scope of Reason In Economic Inquiry. The contract with University of Chicago Press had fallen through and the manuscript was being read by Yale University Press and a few others but Routledge came through with the first concrete offer. I was delighted and these photos were taken in the Economics Department at Manoa by a colleague in September 1988 as the publisher needed them.

Milton and Rose Friedman came to Honolulu on a private holiday perhaps in January 1989; they had years earlier spent a sabbatical year at the Department.

Here is a luncheon that was arranged in their honour. They had in the Fall of 1988 been on their famous visit to China, and as I recall that was the main subject of discussion on the occasion.

Milton phoned me in my Manoa office and invited me to meet him and Rose at their hotel for a chat; we had met first at the 1984 Mont Pelerin meetings and he wished to know me better. I was honoured and turned up dutifully and we talked for perhaps an hour. I recall making a strong recommendation that he write his memoirs, especially so that the rumours and innuendo surrounding eg the Chile episode could be cleared up; I also said a “Collected Works” would be a great idea; when Milton and Rose published their memoirs Two Lucky People (Chicago 1998) I wondered if my first suggestion had come to be taken; as to the second, he wrote to me years later saying he felt no Collected Works were necessary.

From 1986 onwards, I had been requested by the University of Hawaii to lead a project with William E James on the political economy of “South Asia” .I had said there was no such place, that “South Asia” was a US State Department abstraction but there were India and Pakistan and Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and Afghanistan etc. Sister projects on India and Pakistan had been sponsored by the University, and in 1989 important conferences had been planned by myself and James in May for India and in June for Pakistan.

I was determined to publish for the first time Milton’s 1955 memorandum on India which the Government of India had suppressed or ignored at the time. At the hotel-meeting, I told Milton that and requested him to come to the India-conference in May; Milton and Rose said they would think about it, and later confirmed he would come for the first two days.

This is a photo of the initial luncheon at the home of the University President on May 21 1989. Milton and India’s Ambassador to the USA at the time were both garlanded with Hawaiian leis. The first photo was one of a joke from Milton as I recall which had everyone laughing.

There was no equivalent photo of the distinguished scholars who gathered for the Pakistan conference a month later.

The reason was that from February 1989 onwards I had become the victim of a most vicious racist defamation, engineered within the Economics Department at Manoa by a senior professor as a way to derail me before my expected Promotion and Tenure application in the Fall. All my extra time went to battling that though somehow I managed to teach some monetary economics well enough in 1989-1990 for a Japanese student to insist on being photographed with me and the book we had studied.

I was being seen by two or three temporarily powerful characters on the Manoa campus as an Uppity Indian who must be brought down. This time I decided to fight back — and what a saga came to unfold! It took me into the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii and then the Ninth Circuit and upto the United States Supreme Court, not once but twice.

Milton Friedman and Theodore Schultz stood valiantly among my witnesses — first writing to the University’s authorities and later deposing in federal court.

Unfortunately, government lawyers, far from wanting to uphold and respect the laws of the United States, chose to deliberately violate them — compromising a judge, suborning demonstrable perjury and then brazenly purchasing my hired attorney (and getting caught doing it). Since September 2007, the State of Hawaii’s attorneys have been invited by me to return to the federal court and apologise for their unlawful behaviour as they are required by law to do.

They had not expected me to survive their illegalities but I did: I kept going.

Philosophy of Economics was published in London and New York in September 1989

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The hardback quickly sold out on its own steam and the book went into paperback in 1991, and I was delighted to learn from a friend that it had been prescribed for a course at Yale Law School and was strewn along an alley in the bookshop:

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The sister-volumes on India and Pakistan emerging from the University of Hawaii project led by myself and James were published in 1992 and 1993 in India, Pakistan, Britain and the United States.

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As described elsewhere, the manuscript of the India-volume contributed to the origins of India’s 1991 economic reform during my encounter with Rajiv Gandhi in his last months; the Pakistan-volume came to contribute to the origins of the Pakistan-India peace process. The Indian publisher who had promised paperback volumes of both books reneged under leftwing pressure in Delhi; he has since passed away and James and I still await the University of Hawaii’s permission to publish both volumes freely on the Internet as copyright rests with the University President.

In 2004 from Britain, I wrote to the 9/11 Commission stating that it was possible that had the vicious illegalities against me not occurred at Manoa starting in 1989, we may have gone on after India and Pakistan to study Afghanistan, and come up with a pre-emptive academic analysis a decade before September 11 2001.

To be continued in Part Two.

Introduction and Some Biography

My two main works, namely my book of 19 years ago Philosophy of Economics: On the Scope of Reason in Economic Inquiry (first published by Routledge, London & New York, 1989, 1991), and my monograph of 24 years ago Pricing, Planning and Politics: A Study of Economic Distortions in India (first published by the Institute of Economic Affairs, London, 1984) are both now republished here, each with a new preface. I have also published here for the first time the full story of my encounter with Rajiv Gandhi — an abbreviated version appeared in Freedom First in October 2001 which focussed on economic policy and deliberately excluded mention of my warnings about his vulnerability to assassination and my attempts in vain to get people around him to do something about it. I have also republished my three advisory memoranda to him between September 1990 and March 1991, which were first published in The Statesman‘s Editorial Page of July 31, August 1 and August 2 1991.

I have also published here now for the first time a public lecture I gave as the Wincott Visiting Professor of Economics at the University of Buckingham in 2004 titled “Science, Religion, Art and the Necessity of Freedom”. Also republished is “A General Theory of Globalization and Modern Terrorism” which was my keynote address to the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats at their Manila meeting in November 2001; it appeared first in September 11 & Political Freedom: Asian Perspectives (eds. Smith, Gomez & Johannen) in Singapore in 2002.

I have also published for the first time my April 29 2000 address titled “Towards a Highly Transparent Monetary & Fiscal Framework for India’s Union and State Governments” to the Reserve Bank’s Annual “Conference of State Finance Secretaries”.

Also to be found in one place are my most recent signed writings since 2005 in The Statesman and elsewhere on India’s economy and foreign policy, Jammu & Kashmir, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Tibet, Taiwan, the United States, etc.

My political affiliation in India would be to a non-existent party — as may be seen from the article on a Liberal Party for India; and I trust it will be seen that I have dispensed criticism upon the present-day Congress Party, BJP/RSS and Communists equally harshly.

Readers are welcome to quote from my work under the normal “fair use” rule, but please quote me by name and indicate the place of original publication. Readers are also welcome to comment or correspond by email, though please try to introduce yourself.

The new preface of Philosophy of Economics is reproduced below as it is partly biographical.

“(Philosophy of Economics) germinated when I was 18 or 19 years of age in Paris, Helsinki and London, and it was first published when I was 34 in Honolulu. I came to economics from natural science (biology, chemistry, physics), not mathematics. It was inevitable I would be drawn to the beauty of philosophy as a theoretical discipline while being driven, as a post-Independence Indian, to economics as the practical discipline that might unlock secrets to India’s prosperity and progress. I belonged to an ancient family of political men, and my father, who had joined India’s new foreign service the year before I was born, inculcated in me as a boy an idea that I had “a mission” (though he later forgot he had done so).

I was fortunate to fail to enter Oxford’s PPE and instead go to the London School of Economics. LSE was at an intellectual peak in the early 1970s. DHN Johnson in international law, ACL Day in international monetary economics, Brian Griffiths vs Marcus Miller in monetary economics with everyone still in awe of Harry Johnson’s graduate lectures in macroeconomics, Ken Wallis, Graham Mizon, JJ Thomas, David Hendry in econometrics with the odd lecture by Durbin himself – I was exposed to a fully grown up intellectual seriousness from the day I arrived as an 18 year old. Michio Morishima as my professorial tutor told me frankly that, as an Indian, I would face less prejudice in Western academia than in the private sector, and said he was speaking from experience as a fellow-Asian. He turned out to be wrong but it was wise advice nevertheless, just as wise as his requiring pupils to read Hicks’ Value and Capital (which, in our undergraduate mythology, he himself had read inside a Japanese gunboat during war).

What was relatively weak at LSE was general economic theory. We were good at deriving the Best Linear Unbiased Estimator but left unsatisfied with our grasp of the theory of value that constituted the roots of our discipline. I managed a First and was admitted to Cambridge as a Research Student in 1976, where fortune had Frank Hahn choose me as a student. That at the outset was protection from the communist cabal that ran “development economics” with whom almost all the Indians ended up. I was wholly impecunious in my first year as a Research Student, and had to, for example, proof-read Arrow and Hahn’s General Competitive Analysis for its second edition to receive 50 pounds sterling from Hahn which kept me going for a short time. My exposure to Hahn’s subtle, refined and depthless thought as an economist of the first rank led to fascination and wonderment, and I read and re-read his “On the notion of equilibrium in economics”, “On the foundations of monetary theory”, “Keynesian economics and general equilibrium theory” and other clear-headed attempts to integrate the theory of value with the theory of money — a project Wicksell and Marshall had (perhaps wisely) not attempted and Keynes, Hicks and Patinkin had failed at.

Hahn insisted a central question was to ask how money, which is intrinsically worthless, can have any value, why anyone should want to hold it. The practical relevance of this question is manifest. India today in 2007 has an inconvertible currency, vast and growing public debt financed by money-creation, and more than two dozen fiscally irresponsible State governments without money-creating powers. While pondering, over the last decade, whether India’s governance could be made more responsible if States were given money-creating powers, I have constantly had Hahn’s seemingly abstruse question from decades ago in mind, as to why anyone will want to hold State currencies in India, as to whether the equilibrium price of those monies would be positive. (Lerner in fact gave an answer in 1945 when he suggested that any money would have value if its issuer agreed to collect liabilities in it — as a State collects taxes – and that may be the simplest road that bridges the real/monetary divide.)

Though we were never personal friends and I did not ingratiate myself with Hahn as did many others, my respect for him only grew when I saw how he had protected my inchoate classical liberal arguments for India from the most vicious attacks that they were open to from the communists. My doctoral thesis, initially titled “A monetary theory for India”, had to be altered due to paucity of monetary data at the time, as well as the fact India’s problems of political economy and allocation of real resources were more pressing, and so the thesis became “On liberty and economic growth: preface to a philosophy for India”. When no internal examiner could be found, the University of Cambridge, at Hahn’s insistence, showed its greatness by appointing two externals: C. J. Bliss at Oxford and T. W. Hutchison at Birmingham, former students of Hahn and Joan Robinson respectively. My thesis received the most rigorous and fairest imaginable evaluation from them.

I had been attracted to Cambridge partly by its old reputation for philosophy, especially that of Wittgenstein. But I met no worthwhile philosophers there until a few months before I was to leave for the United States in 1980, when I chanced upon the work of Renford Bambrough. Hahn had challenged me with the question, “how are you so sure your value judgements promoting liberty blah-blah are better than those of Chenery and the development economists?” It was a question that led inevitably to ethics and its epistemology — when I chanced upon Bambrough’s work, and that of his philosophical master, John Wisdom, the immense expanse of metaphysics (or ontology) opened up as well. “Then felt I like some watcher of the skies, When a new planet swims into his ken; Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes, He star’d at the Pacific…”

It has taken me more than a quarter century to traverse some of that expanse; when I returned to Britain in 2004 as the Wincott Visiting Professor of Economics at the University of Buckingham, I was very kindly allowed to deliver a public lecture, “Science, Religion, Art and the Necessity of Freedom”, wherein I repaid a few of my debts to the forgotten work of Bambrough and Wisdom — whom I extravagantly compared with the Bodhisattvas of Mahayana Buddhism, also saying that the trio of Wittgenstein, Wisdom and Bambrough were reminiscent of what Socrates, Plato and Aristotle might have been like.

I had written to Bambrough from within Cambridge expressing my delight at finding his works and saying these were immensely important to economics; he had invited me to his weekly discussion groups at St John’s College but I could not attend. Between 1979 and 1989 we corresponded while I worked in America on my application of his and Wisdom’s work to problems in economics. We met only once when I returned to Cambridge from Blacksburg for my doctoral viva voce examination in January 1982. Six years later in 1988 he said of my Philosophy of Economics, “The work is altogether well-written and admirably clear”, and on another occasion he said he was “extremely pleased” at the interest I had taken in his work. The original preface of Philosophy of Economics said he was not responsible for the use I had made of his writings, which I reiterated in the 2004 lecture. At our meeting, he offered to introduce me to Wisdom who had returned to Cambridge from Oregon but I was too scared and declined, something I have always regretted. It is only in the last few years that I have begun to grasp the immensity of Wisdom’s achievement in comprehending, explaining and extending the work of both Wittgenstein and Freud. His famous “Virginia Lectures” of 1957 were finally published by his admirers with his consent as Proof and Explanation just before his death in 1993. As for Bambrough, I believe he may have been or become the single greatest philosopher since Aristotle; he told me in correspondence there was an unfinished manuscript Principia Metaphysica (the prospectus of which appeared in Philosophy 1964), which unfortunately his family and successors knew nothing about; the fact he died almost in obscurity and was soon forgotten by his University speaks more about the contemporary state of academic philosophy than about him. (Similarly, the fact Hahn, Morishima and like others did not receive the so-called Economics “Nobel” says more about the award than it does about them.)

All I needed in 1980 was time and freedom to develop the contents of this book, and that I found in America — which I could not have done in either Britain or India. It would take eight or nine very strenuous years before the book could be written and published, mostly spent at Virginia Polytechnic Institute (1980-1985) and University of Hawaii (1986-1990) Economics Departments, with short interludes at Cornell (Fall 1983) and Brigham Young (1985-86). I went to Virginia because James M. Buchanan was there, and he, along with FA Hayek, were whom Hahn decided to write on my behalf. Hayek said he was too old to accept me but wrote me kind and generous letters praising and hence encouraging my inchoate liberal thoughts and arguments. Buchanan was welcoming and I learnt much from him and his colleagues about the realities of public finance and democratic politics, which I quickly applied in my work on India, published in 1984 in London as Pricing, Planning & Politics: A Study of Economic Distortions in India and republished elsewhere here. The visit to the Cornell Economics Department was really so I could talk to Max Black the philosopher, who represented a different line of Wittgenstein’s students, and Max and I became friends until his death in 1988.

Buchanan’s departure from Blacksburg led to a gang of inert “game theorists” to arrive, and I was immediately under attack – one senior man telling me I was free to criticise the “social choice” work of Amartya Sen (since he was Indian too) but I was definitely unfree to do the same of Sen’s mentor, Kenneth Arrow, who was Jewish! (Arrow was infinitely more gracious when he himself responded to my criticism.) On top of that arose a matter of a woman, fresh off the aeroplane from India, being assaulted by a senior professor, and when I stood for her against her assailant, my time in Blacksburg was definitely up.

The manuscript of this book was at the time under contract with University of Chicago Press, and, thanks to Mrs Harry Johnson there, I had come in contact with that great American, Theodore W. Schultz. Schultz, at age 81, told me better to my face what the book was about than I had realised myself, namely, it was about economics as knowledge — its subject-matter was the epistemology of economics. Schultz wrote letters all over America on my behalf (as did Milton Friedman at Stanford and Sidney Alexander of MIT, whom I had also met and become friends with), and I was able to first spend a happy year among the Mormons at Brigham Young, and then end up at the University of Hawaii where I was given responsibility for the main graduate course in macroeconomics. I taught Harry Johnson-level IS-LM theory and Friedman-Tobin macroeconomics and then the new “rational expectations” vs Keynesian material.

I was also offered a large University grant to work on “South Asia”, which led to the books Foundations of India’s Political Economy: Towards an Agenda for the 1990s, and Foundations of Pakistan’s Political Economy: Towards an Agenda for the 1990s, both created by myself and WE James, and which led to the origins of India’s 1991 economic reform and the India-Pakistan peace process as told elsewhere. Also, this book came to be accepted for publication by Routledge, as the first economics book in its famed International Library of Philosophy.

Just as I was set to be evaluated for promotion and tenure at the University of Hawaii, I became the victim of a most vicious racist defamation (and there was some connection with Blacksburg). Quite fed up with the sordidness of American academia as I had experienced it, I sued in the federal court, which consumed much of the next half dozen years as the case worked its way through the United States Supreme Court twice. Milton Friedman and Theodore W. Schultz stood as expert witnesses on my behalf but you would not have known it from the judge’s ruling. There had been not only demonstrable perjury and suborning of perjury by the State of Hawaii’s officers, there was also “after-discovered” evidence of bribery of court-officers in the US District Court for the District of Hawaii, and I had to return to India in 1996 quite exhausted to recuperate from the experience. “Solicitation of counsel, clerks or judges” is “embracery curialis”, recognized as extrinsic fraud and subversion of justice since Jepps 72 E R 924 (1611), “firmly established in English practice long before the foundation” of the USA, Hazel Atlas, 322 US 238 (1943). “Embracery is an offense striking at the very foundation of civil society” says Corpus Juris 20, 496. A court of equity has inherent power to investigate if a judgement has been obtained by fraud, and that is a power to unearth it effectively, since no fraud is more odious than one to subvert justice. Cases include when “by reason of something done by the successful party… there was in fact no adversary trial or decision of the issue in the case. Where the unsuccessful party has been prevented from exhibiting fully his case, by fraud or deception practised on him by his opponent, as…where an attorney fraudulently or without authority assumes to represent a party and connives at his defeat; or where the attorney regularly employed corruptly sells out his client’s interest to the other side ~ these, and similar cases which show that there has never been a real contest in the trial or hearing of the case, are reasons for which a new suit may be sustained to set aside and annul the former judgment or decree, and open the case for a new and a fair hearing….” (Hazel Atlas). There is no time-limit in United States federal law for rectification of fraud on the court of this sort, and I remain fully hopeful today of the working of American justice in the case.

The practical result was that this book was never able to be properly publicized among economists as it would have been had I become Professor of Economics at the University of Hawaii by 1992 as expected. The hardback sold out quickly on its own steam and went into paperback by 1991, and a friend told me it was being used for a course at Yale Law School. The reviews were mostly intelligent. Upon returning to Britain as the Wincott Visiting Professor in 2004, I found times had changed and so had Routledge who would not keep it in print let alone permit a second revised edition. But I am now free to republish the book as I please, and today in 2007, with the Internet growing to a maturity which allows the young geeks at WordPress.com to want to encourage blogging worldwide, I can think of no more apt place to reproduce the first edition of this book than here at my own blog http://www.independentindian.com.

This is not a second or revised edition, and it is unchanged in content except for this lengthy new preface made necessary by the adventures and dramas the book’s author found himself unwittingly part of since its first publication. I am 52 now and happy to say I endorse the book just as I had published it at 34, though I do find it a little impatient and too terse in a few places. The 1991 paperback corrected a few slight errors in the 1989 hardback, and has been used. I am planning an entirely new book which shall have its roots in this one though it will be mostly in philosophy and not economics — the outlines it may take may be seen in the 2004 public lecture I gave on the work of Bambrough and Wisdom mentioned above and published elsewhere; its main aim will be to uncover for new generations the immense worth there is in their work which is in danger of being lost.

At least two names failed to appear in the original list of acknowledgements. G. Bruce Chapman, now of the University of Toronto, and I talked much of serious ethics and political philosophy when I first arrived at Cambridge in 1976. And in 1980 in Blacksburg, Anil Lal, then a graduate student and house-painter, borrowed my copy of Bambrough’s work, read it, and later made a comment on the metaphysics of John Wisdom which allowed me to see things more clearly.

Ballygunge, Kolkata,
April 7 2007″

An Open Letter to Professor Amartya Sen about Singur etc

A letter to Prof. Sen

First published in The Statesman 31 July 2007, Editorial Page Special Article

Professor Amartya Sen, Harvard University

Dear Professor Sen,

Everyone will be delighted that someone of your worldwide stature has joined the debate on Singur and Nandigram; The Telegraph deserves congratulations for having made it possible on July 23.

I was sorry to find though that you may have missed the wood for the trees and also some of the trees themselves. Perhaps you have relied on Government statements for the facts. But the Government party in West Bengal represents official Indian communism and has been in power for 30 years at a stretch. It may be unwise to take at face-value what they say about their own deeds on this very grave issue! Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, and there are many candid communists who privately recognise this dismal truth about themselves. To say this is not to be praising those whom you call the “Opposition” ~ after all, Bengal’s politics has seen emasculation of the Congress as an opposition because the Congress and communists are allies in Delhi. It is the Government party that must reform itself from within sua sponte for the good of everyone in the State.

The comparisons and mentions of history you have made seem to me surprising. Bengal’s economy now or in the past has little or nothing similar to the economy of Northern England or the whole of England or Britain itself, and certainly Indian agriculture has little to do with agriculture in the new lands of Australia or North America. British economic history was marked by rapid technological innovations in manufacturing and rapid development of social and political institutions in context of being a major naval, maritime and mercantile power for centuries. Britain’s geography and history hardly ever permitted it to be an agricultural country of any importance whereas Bengal, to the contrary, has been among the most agriculturally fertile and hence densely populated regions of the world for millennia.

Om Prakash’s brilliant pioneering book The Dutch East India Company and the Economy of Bengal 1630-1720 (Princeton 1985) records all this clearly. He reports the French traveller François Bernier saying in the 1660s “Bengal abounds with every necessary of life”, and a century before him the Italian traveller Verthema saying Bengal “abounds more in grain, flesh of every kind, in great quantity of sugar, also of ginger, and of great abundance of cotton, than any country in the world”. Om Prakash says “The premier industry in the region was the textile industry comprising manufacture from cotton, silk and mixed yarns”. Bengal’s major exports were foodstuffs, textiles, raw silk, opium, sugar and saltpetre; imports notably included metals (as Montesquieu had said would always be the case).

Bengal did, as you say, have industries at the time the Europeans came but you have failed to mention these were mostly “agro-based” and, if anything, a clear indicator of our agricultural fecundity and comparative advantage. If “deindustrialization” occurred in 19th Century India, that had nothing to do with the “deindustrialization” in West Bengal from the 1960s onwards due to the influence of official communism.

You remind us Fa Hiaen left from Tamralipta which is modern day Tamluk, though he went not to China but to Ceylon. You suggest that because he did so Tamluk effectively “was greater Calcutta”. I cannot see how this can be said of the 5th Century AD when no notion of Calcutta existed. Besides, modern Tamluk at 22º18’N, 87º56’E is more than 50 miles inland from the ancient port due to land-making that has occurred at the mouth of the Hooghly. I am afraid the relevance of the mention of Fa Hiaen to today’s Singur and Nandigram has thus escaped me.

You say “In countries like Australia, the US or Canada where agriculture has prospered, only a very tiny population is involved in agriculture. Most people move out to industry. Industry has to be convenient, has to be absorbing”. Last January, a national daily published a similar view: “For India to become a developed country, the area under agriculture has to shrink, urban and industrial land development has to take place, and about 100 million workers have to move out from agriculture into industry and services. This is the only way forward for bringing prosperity to the rural population”.

Rice is indeed grown in Arkansas or Texas as it is in Bengal but there is a world of difference between the technological and geographical situation here and that in the vast, sparsely populated New World areas with mechanized farming! Like shoe-making or a hundred other crafts, agriculture can be capital-intensive or labour-intensive ~ ours is relatively labour-intensive, theirs is relatively capital-intensive. Our economy is relatively labour-abundant and capital-scarce; their economies are relatively labour-scarce and capital-abundant (and also land-abundant). Indeed, if anything, the apt comparison is with China, and you doubtless know of the horror stories and civil war conditions erupting across China in recent years as the Communist Party and their businessman friends forcibly take over the land of peasants and agricultural workers, e.g. in Dongzhou.

All plans of long-distance social engineering to “move out” 40 per cent of India’s population (at 4 persons per “worker”) from the rural hinterlands must also face FA Hayek’s fundamental question in The Road to Serfdom: “Who plans whom, who directs whom, who assigns to other people their station in life, and who is to have his due allotted by others?”

Your late Harvard colleague, Robert Nozick, opened his brilliant 1974 book Anarchy, State and Utopia saying: “Individuals have rights, and there are things no person or group may do to them (without violating their rights)”. You have rightly deplored the violence seen at Singur and Nandigram. But you will agree it is a gross error to equate violence perpetrated by the Government which is supposed to be protecting all people regardless of political affiliation, and the self-defence of poor unorganised peasants seeking to protect their meagre lands and livelihoods from state-sponsored pogroms. Kitchen utensils, pitchforks or rural implements and flintlock guns can hardly match the organised firepower controlled by a modern Government.

Fortunately, India is not China and the press, media and civil institutions are not totally in the hands of the ruling party alone. In China, no amount of hue and cry among the peasants could save them from the power of organised big business and the Communist Party. In India, a handful of brave women have managed to single-handedly organise mass movements of protest which the press and media have then broadcast that has shocked the whole nation to its senses.

You rightly say the land pricing process has been faulty. Irrelevant historical prices have been averaged when the sum of discounted expected future values in an inflationary economy should have been used. Matters are even worse. “The fear of famine can itself cause famine. The people of Bengal are afraid of a famine. It was repeatedly charged that the famine (of 1943) was man-made.” That is what T. W. Schultz said in 1946 in the India Famine Emergency Committee led by Pearl Buck, concerned that the 1943 Bengal famine should not be repeated following dislocations after World War II. Of course since that time our agriculture has undergone a Green Revolution, at least in wheat if not in rice, and a White Revolution in milk and many other agricultural products. But catastrophic collapses in agricultural incentives may still occur as functioning farmland comes to be taken by government and industry from India’s peasantry using force, fraud or even means nominally sanctioned by law. If new famines come to be provoked because farmers’ incentives collapse, let future historians know where responsibility lay.

West Bengal’s real economic problems have to do with its dismal macroeconomic and fiscal position which is what Government economists should be addressing candidly. As for land, the Government’s first task remains improving grossly inadequate systems of land-description and definition, as well as the implementation and recording of property rights.

With my most respectful personal regards, I remain

Yours ever

Suby

Milton Friedman: A Man of Reason, 1912-2006

A Man of Reason


Milton Friedman (1912-2006)

 

First published in The Statesman, Perspective Page Nov 22 2006

 

Milton Friedman, who died on 16 November 2006 in San Francisco, was without a doubt the greatest economist after John Maynard Keynes. Before Keynes, great 20th century economists included Alfred Marshall and Knut Wicksell, while Keynes’s contemporaries included Irving Fisher, AC Pigou and many others. Keynes was followed by his younger critic FA Hayek, but Hayek is remembered less for his technical economics as for his criticism of “socialist economics” and contributions to politics. Milton Friedman more than anyone else was Keynes’s successor in economics (and in applied macroeconomics in particular), in the same way David Ricardo had been the successor of Adam Smith. Ricardo disagreed with Smith and Friedman disagreed with Keynes, but the impact of each on the direction and course both of economics and of the world in which they lived was similar in size and scope.

 

Friedman’s impact on the contemporary world may have been largest through his design and advocacy as early as 1953 of the system of floating exchange-rates. In the early 1970s, when the Bretton Woods system of adjustable fixed exchange-rates collapsed and Friedman’s friend and colleague George P. Shultz was US Treasury Secretary in the Nixon Administration, the international monetary system started to become of the kind Friedman had described two decades earlier. Equally large was Friedman’s worldwide impact in re-establishing concern about the frequent cause of macroeconomic inflation being money supply growth rates well above real income growth rates. All contemporary talk of “inflation targeting” among macroeconomic policy-makers since the 1980s has its roots in Friedman’s December 1967 presidential address to the American Economic Association. His main empirical disagreement with Keynes and the Keynesians lay in his belief that people held the intrinsically worthless tokens known as “money” largely in order to expedite their transactions and not as a store of value – hence the “demand for money” was a function mostly of income and not of interest rates, contrary to what Keynes had suggested in his 1930s analysis of “Depression Economics”. It is in this sense that Friedman restored the traditional “quantity theory” as being a specific theory of the demand for money.

 

Friedman’s main descriptive work lay in the monumental Monetary History of the United States he co-authored with Anna J. Schwartz, which suggested drastic contractions of the money supply had contributed to the Great Depression in America. Friedman made innumerable smaller contributions too, the most prominent and foresighted of which had to do with advocating larger parental choice in the public finance of their children’s school education via the use of “vouchers”. The modern Friedman Foundation has that as its main focus of philanthropy. The emphasis on greater individual choice in school education exemplified Friedman’s commitments both to individual freedom and the notion of investment in human capital.

 

Friedman had significant influences upon several non-Western countries too, most prominently India and China, besides a grossly misreported episode in Chile. As described in his autobiography with his wife Rose, Two Lucky People (Chicago 1998), Friedman spent six months in India in 1955 at the Government of India’s invitation during the formulation of the Second Five Year Plan. His work done for the Government of India came to be suppressed for the next 34 years. Peter Bauer had told me during my doctoral work at Cambridge in the late 1970s of the existence of a Friedman memorandum, and N. Georgescu-Roegen told me the same in America in 1980, adding that Friedman had been almost insulted publicly by VKRV Rao at the time after giving a lecture to students on his analysis of India’s problems.

 

When Friedman and I met in 1984, I asked him for the memorandum and he sent me two documents. The main one dated November 1955 I published in Hawaii on 21 May 1989 during a project on a proposed Indian “perestroika” (which contributed to the origins of the 1991 reform through Rajiv Gandhi), and was later published in Delhi in Foundations of India’s Political Economy: Towards an Agenda for the 1990s, edited by myself and WE James.

 

The other document on Mahalanobis is published in The Statesman today for the first time, though there has been an Internet copy floating around for a few years. The Friedmans’ autobiography quoted what I said in 1989 about the 1955 memorandum and may be repeated: “The aims of economic policy (in India) were to create conditions for rapid increase in levels of income and consumption for the mass of the people, and these aims were shared by everyone from PC Mahalanobis to Milton Friedman. The means recommended were different. Mahalanobis advocated a leading role for the state and an emphasis on the growth of physical capital. Friedman advocated a necessary but clearly limited role for the state, and placed on the agenda large-scale investment in the stock of human capital, encouragement of domestic competition, steady and predictable monetary growth, and a flexible exchange rate for the rupee as a convertible hard currency, which would have entailed also an open competitive position in the world economy… If such an alternative had been more thoroughly discussed at the time, the optimal role of the state in India today, as well as the optimum complementarity between human capital and physical capital, may have been more easily determined.”

 

A few months before attending my Hawaii conference on India, Friedman had been in China, and his memorandum to Communist Party General Secretary Zhao Ziyang and two-hour dialogue of 19 September 1988 with him are now classics republished in the 1998 autobiography. Also republished there are all documents relating to Friedman’s six-day academic visit to Chile in March 1975 and his correspondence with General Pinochet, which speak for themselves and make clear Friedman had nothing to do with that regime other than offer his opinion when asked about how to reduce Chile’s hyperinflation at the time.

 

My association with Milton has been the zenith of my engagement with academic economics, with e-mails exchanged as recently as September. I was a doctoral student of his bitter enemy yet for over two decades he not only treated me with unfailing courtesy and affection, he supported me in lonely righteous battles: doing for me what he said he had never done before, which was to stand as an expert witness in a United States Federal Court. I will miss him much though I know that he, as a man of reason, would not have wished me to.

Subroto Roy

Towards a Highly Transparent Fiscal & Monetary Framework for India’s Union & State Governments (29 April 2000)

Towards a Highly Transparent Fiscal & Monetary Framework for India’s Union & State Governments

An address by Dr Subroto Roy to

the Conference of State Finance Secretaries, Reserve Bank of India,  Mumbai, 29 April 2000.

It is a great privilege to speak to this distinguished gathering of Finance Secretaries and economic policy-makers here at the Reserve Bank today. I should like to begin by thanking the Hon’ble Governor Dr Bimal Jalan and the Hon’ble Deputy Governor Dr YV Reddy for their kind invitation for me to do so. I should also like to record here my gratitude to their eminent predecessor, the Hon’ble Governor of Andhra Pradesh, Dr C Rangarajan, for his encouragement of my thinking on these subjects over several years.

My aim will be to share with you and seek your help with my continuing and very incomplete efforts at trying to comprehend as clearly as possible the major public financial flows taking place between the Union of India and each of its constituent States. I plan to show you by the end of this discussion how all the information presently contained in the budgets of the Union and State Governments of India, may be usefully transformed one-to-one into a fresh modern format consistent with the best international practices of government accounting and public budgeting.

I do not use the term “Central Government”, because it is a somewhat sinister anachronism left over from British times. When we were not a free nation, there was indeed a Central Government in New Delhi which took its orders from London and gave orders to its peripheral Provinces as well as to the British “Residents” parked beside the thrones of those who were called “Indian Princes”.

Free India has been a Union of States. There is a Government of the whole Union and there is a Government of each State. The Union is the sovereign and the sole international power, while the States, as political subdivisions of the Union, also possess certain sub-sovereign powers; as indeed do their own subdivisions like zilla parishads, municipalities and other local bodies in smaller measure.

Our 15 large States, which account for 97% of the population of the country, have an average of something like 61 million citizens each, which is vastly more than most countries of the world. In size of population at least, we are like 15 Frances or 15 Britains put together. The Indian Republic is unique or sui generis in that there has never been in history any attempt at federalism or democracy with such sheer large numbers of people involved.

In such a framework the citizen is supposed to feel a voter and a taxpayer at different levels, owing loyalty and taxes to both the national unit and the subdivisions in which he or she resides. In exchange, government at different levels is expected to provide citizens with public goods and services in appropriate measure. The problem of optimal fiscal decentralisation in India as elsewhere is one of allocating to each level of government the power to tax and responsibility to provide, public goods and services most appropriate to that level of government given the availability of information of resources and citizens’ preferences.

In parallel, a problem of optimal monetary decentralisation may be identified as that of allocating between an autonomous Central Bank and its regional or even State-level affiliates or subsidiaries, the power to finance through money-creation the deficits, if any, of the Union and State Governments respectively. It is not impossible to imagine a world in which individual State deficits did not flow into the Union deficit as a matter of course, but instead were intended to be financed more or less independently of the Union budget from a single-window source. There would be a clear conceptual independence between the Union and State levels of public action in the country. In such a world, the Union Government might approach a constitutionally autonomous national-level Central Bank to finance its deficit, while individual State Governments did something analogous with respect to autonomous regional or even State-level Central Banks which would be affiliates or subsidiaries of the national Central Bank.

This is similar to the intended model of the United States Federal Reserve System when it started 90 years ago, though it has not worked like that, in part because of the rapid rise to domination by the New York Federal Reserve relative to the other 11 regional Federal Reserve Banks.

A more radical monetary step would be to contemplate a “Reverse Euro” model by which a national currency issued by the national-level Central Bank acts in parallel with a number of regional or State-level currencies with full convertibility and floating exchange-rates guaranteed between all of them in a world of unhindered mobility of goods and factors.

However, these are very incomplete and theoretical thoughts which perhaps deserve to be shelved for the time being.[1] What necessitates this kind of discussion is after all not something theoretical but rather the practical ground realities of our country’s fiscal and monetary position, something of which this audience will be far better aware than am I.

Economic and political analysis suggests that managing a process of public financial decision-making requires a coincidence of the people who have the best information with the people who have the authority to act. In other words, decision-makers need to have relevant, reliable and timely information made available to them, and then they need to be considered accountable for the decisions made on that basis.

In a democracy like ours, the locus of economic policy decision-making must be Parliament and the State legislatures. Academics, civil servants, journalists, special interest groups, this or that business or industrial lobbyist or foreign management consultant can all have their say — but consensus on the direction and nature of economic policy, if it is to be genuine, has to ultimately emerge out of the legislative process on the basis of reasonable, well-informed discussion and debate, given full relevant timely information. The proper source of all economic policy decisions and initiatives is Parliament, the State legislatures and local government bodies — not this or that lobby or interest-group which may be vocal or powerful enough to be heard at a given time in New Delhi or some State capital-city.

Our 1950 Constitution was a marvellous document in its time and it has worked tolerably well. It defined the functions of government in India in accordance with the main parameters of normative public finance.

Economics ascribed a quite extensive traditional role to Government, the most important functions being collective and individual security, followed by all activities which in the words of Adam Smith,

 “though they may be in the highest degree advantageous to a great society, are, however, of such a nature that the profit could never repay the expence to any individual or small number of individuals, and which it, therefore, cannot be expected that any individual or small number of individuals should erect or maintain.” (Wealth of Nations, V.i.c., 1776)

Our 1950 Constitution defined the Union’s responsibilities to be

External Security;

Foreign Relations & Trade;

Supreme Court & Domestic Security;

Debt Service, Foreign & Domestic;

National Infrastructure;

Communications & Broadcasting;

Atomic Energy;

Public Sector Industries;

Banking; Currency & Finance;

Archives; Surveys & National Institutions;

National Universities;

National Civil Services & Administration.

Each State’s responsibilities were

High Courts & Lower Judiciary;

Police; Civil Order; Prisons;

Water; Sanitation; Health;

State Debt Service;

Intra-State Infrastructure & Communications;

Local Government;

Liquor & Other Public Sector Industries; Trade; Local Banking & Finance;

Land; Agriculture; Animal Husbandry;

Libraries, Museums, Monuments;

State Civil Service & Administration.

Some duties were supposed to be shared by the Union with each State, including

Criminal Law;

Civil & Family Law, Contracts & Torts;

Forests & Environmental Protection;

Unemployment & Refugee Relief;

Electricity;

Education.

But the authors of the 1950 Constitution could not have envisaged the nature of present problems, or foreseen in those early years what we would have become like today. Our fiscal system has become such that a few clauses may have led to an impossibly complex centralization of fiscal power and information. Not only did the 1950 Constitution identify agendas of the Union and State Governments, it also dictated the procedure of decision-making and it is this which may have become intractable over 50 years. Under Article 280, a Finance Commission is appointed every five years whose task is to try to efficiently and equitably allot tax revenues collected by the Union downwards to the States and laterally between the States. Members of Finance Commissions have been elder statesmen of high reputation and integrity, yet the practical impossibility of their task has made their actions seem to all observers to be clouded in mystery and perhaps muddle. As one recent member, Justice Qureshi, has candidly stated

 “it is humanly impossible for a person to understand the problems of the Centre and the 25 States and take a decision thereon within such a short time” (Ninth Finance Commission, Issues and Recommendations, p.350).

No matter how competent or well-meaning a Finance Commission’s members may be, their purpose may be stymied by the overload of information and overcentralisation of authority that has come to take place. As a result, it may have been inevitable that Government has ended up doing what it need not have done at the expense concomitantly of failing to do what only Government could or must have done.

The present situation is such that, despite the best efforts of the Reserve Bank and other Government agencies, there may be a gross lack of timely, relevant and reliable information reaching all decision-makers including the ordinary citizen, who as voter and taxpayer is the cornerstone of the fiscal system. My own inquiry started when Mr. Hubert Neiss, then Central Asia Director at the IMF, hired me as a consultant in December 1992. He told me the IMF was naturally concerned about India’s national budget deficit, but no one seemed to quite know how this related precisely to the budgets of the different States whose deficits seemed to be flowing into it. By its terms of reference, the IMF could not inquire into India’s States’ budgets and I did not do so in my work with them, but the import of his question remained in my thinking. Later I found similar questions being asked at the World Bank. I do not think it a great secret to state that there may be a great deal of simple puzzlement about the workings of our fiscal and monetary system on the part of observers and decision-makers who may be concerned about India’s fiscal position.

Among both public decision-makers and ordinary citizens right across the length and breadth of our country, a severe and widespread lack of information about and comprehension of India’s basic fiscal and monetary facts seems to exist. This in itself may be a cause of fiscal problems as citizens may not be adequately aware of the link between making their demands for public goods and services on the one hand, and the necessity of finding the resources to fund these goods and services on the other.

In any ultimate analysis, resources for public goods and services in an economy can be found only by diverting the real resources of individual citizens towards public uses. Other than printing fiat money, a national Government can only either tax those citizens who are present today in the population, or, borrow from the capital stock on behalf of unborn generations of future citizens.

West Europe and America are heirs to a long history of political development; yet even there, as Professor James Buchanan has often observed, the idea until has not been grasped until recently that benefits from use of public goods and services are supposed to accrue to citizens from whom resources have been raised. Until the 19th Century,

 “government outlay was frequently considered “unproductive”, and there was, by implicit assumption, no return of services to the citizens who were taxed. In a political regime that devotes the bulk of government outlay to the maintenance expenses of a single sovereign, or even of an elite, there is no demonstrable return flow of services to the taxpayers…. Tax principles were discussed as if, once collected, revenues were removed forever from the economy; taxpayers, both individually and in the aggregate, were held to suffer real income loss” (James M. Buchanan, The Demand and Supply of Public Goods, Rand 1968, p. 167).

According to Buchanan, such an undemocratic fiscal model was transformed in the work of the great Swedish economist Knut Wicksell and others by introducing the key assumption of fiscal democracy, namely, that

 “those who bear the costs of public services are also the beneficiaries in democratic structures”

Conversely, we may say those who demand public goods and services in a fiscal democracy should also expect to pay for them in real resources. If citizens are aware of taxes only as a burden and come to feel they receive little or nothing from Governments in return, there is a loss of incentive to pay taxes or to stand up and be counted as proud citizens of the country. There is an incentive instead to evade taxes or to flee the country or to cynically believe everything to be corrupt. On the other hand, if citizens demand public goods and services without expecting to contribute resources for their production, this amounts to being no more than a demand to be a free-rider on the general budget.

In our country, we may have been seeing both phenomena. On one hand, there is, rightly or wrongly, a tremendous public cynicism present almost everywhere with respect to expecting effective provision of public goods and services. On the other hand, the idea that the beneficiaries of public goods and services must also, sooner or later, come to bear the costs in terms of taxed resources is far from established so our politics come to often be unreasonable and irresponsible.

Reliable and comprehensible information about the system as a whole and about the contents of public budgets is thus vital for a fiscal democracy to function. In ancient Athens it was said:

 “Here each individual is interested not only in his own affairs but in the affairs of the State as well; even those who are mostly occupied with their own business are extremely well-informed on general politics — this is a peculiarity of ours: we do not say that a man who has no interest in politics is a man who minds his own business; we say that he has no business here at all.” Pericles (Funeral Oration, Thucydides, The Pelopennesian War)

That was the criterion that Pericles defined for ancient Athenian democracy, and I see no reason why in the 21st Century it cannot be met in modern India’s democracy.

This finally brings me to the positive contribution I have promised to make. The aim my attempt to redesign the Union and State’s budgets utilising precisely the same data as available has been to make the fiscal position of all public entities accessible to any interested citizen.

We do not have to say that every Indian citizen, or even every literate and numerate citizen of our country, has to be able to understand the intricacies of the public budgets of his or her State and the Union. But if information is available such that anyone who understands the finances of his own family or his own business enterprise is also reasonably able to understand the public budget then a standard of maximum feasible transparency would have been defined and met.

I have relied on the international normative model developed by our own countryman, Mr. A. Premchand, who retired from the IMF a few years ago, as described in his outstanding book Effective Government Accounting (IMF 1995), where he showed applications for e.g. the USA, New Zealand and Switzerland. What I have done – or rather did in 1997/1998, with the help of a research assistant and a student – is apply that to all of our States and the Union too.[2] What will be seen by way of differences with the present methodology is that there is essentially an Operating Statement, a Financial Statement and a Cash Flow Statement offered for each State and the Union. The financial position and gross fiscal deficit definition emerge rather neatly from this – while there the rather confusing “Development/Non-development” and “Planning/Non-Planning” distinctions have been done away with.

The exercise points to the foundations of a new and fresh federal framework for our Republic. A central new fact of modern India is that many, perhaps most, of our States have developed what is effectively a bipolar division in their legislatures. Voters have also increasingly started to judge Governments not by the personalities they contain but rather by their performance on the job, and, at election-time, have begun to frequently enough shown one side the door in the hope the other side may do better. In such circumstances, there seems no reason in principle why an entity as large as the average State of modern India today cannot be entrusted to legislate and administer a modern tax-system, based especially on the income-tax, and especially taxing income from all sources including agriculture. In a fresh and modern federalism, an elected State Government would have appropriate economic powers to run its own affairs, and be mainly accountable to the legislature whose confidence it requires, and ultimately to voters below.

From an efficiency standpoint, we should want a framework in which repercussions of political turmoil or bad financial management by a State Government to not spill into other States or flow into the Union Government’s own problems of deficit financing. With free mobility of goods and factors throughout the Union, citizens faced with a poorly performing State Government could seek to vote it out of office, or may of course “vote with their feet” by moving their capital or resources to another part of the country. In short, State Governments will be held responsible by their electorates for their expenditures on public goods and services, while having the main powers of domestic taxation in the economy, especially taxes on income from all sources including agriculture.

At the same time, diverse as India is, we are not 15 or 25 separate republics federated together but rather one country all of whose peoples are united by a common geography and a common experience of history. From an equity and indeed national standpoint, we may also want a system which also firmly established that the National Parliament would have to determine how much each citizen should be taxed for the Union to provide public goods and services for the country as a whole, as well as what transfers ought to be made between the States via the Union in the interests of equity given differences in initial resource-endowments between them.

Here again an American example may be useful. As is well-known, the 50 United States each have their own Constitutions governing most intra-State political matters, yet all being inferior in authority to the 1789 Constitution of the United States as duly amended. In India, an author as early as 1888 recommended popular Constitutions for India’s States on the grounds

“where there are no popular constitutions, the personal character of the ruler becomes a most important factor in the government… evils are inherent in every government where autocracy is not tempered by a free constitution.”[3]

We could ask if a better institutional arrangement may occur by each State of India electing its own Constitutional Convention subject naturally to the supervision of the National Parliament and the obvious provision that all State Constitutions be inferior in authority to the Constitution of the Union of India.[4] These documents would then furnish the major sets of rules to govern intra-State political and fiscal decision-making more efficiently. An additional modern reason can be given from the work of Professor James M. Buchanan, namely, that fiscal constitutionalism, and perhaps only fiscal constitutionalism, allows over-riding to take place of the interests of competing power-groups.[5]

State-level Constitutional Conventions in India would provide an opportunity for a realistic assessment to be made by State-level legislators and citizens of the fiscal positions of their own States. Greater recognition and understanding of the plain facts and the desired relationships between income and expenditures, public benefits and public costs, would likely improve the quality of public decision-making at State-levels, sending public resources from destinations which are socially worthless towards destinations which are socially worthwhile. It bears repeating the average size of a large State of India is 61 million people, and almost all existing political Constitutions around the globe furnish rules for far smaller populations than that.

Thank you for your patience. Jai Hind.

[1] Monetary Federalism at Work: F. A. Hayek more than anyone else taught us that relative prices are signals or guides to economic activity — summarizing in a single statistic information about the resources, constraints, expectations and ambitions of market participants. An exchange-rate between two currencies is also a relative price, conveying information about relative market opinions regarding the issuers of the two currencies. Suppose we had two States of India in the fresh kind of federal framework outlined above, which were identical in all respects except one had a larger deficit and so a larger nominal money supply growth. Would that mean the first currency must depreciate relative to the second? Not necessarily; it is not the size of indebtedness that matters but rather the quality of public investment decisions, to which borrowed money has been put. Thus we come to the crux: Suppose we have two States which are identical in all respects except one: State X is found to have an efficient Government, i.e. one which has made relatively good quality public investment decisions, and State Y is found to have one which has made relatively bad quality public investment decisions. In the present amalgamated model of Indian federal finance, no objective distinction can be made between the two, and efficient State Governments are surreptitiously compelled to end up subsidising inefficient ones. In a differentiated federal framework for India, as the different information about the two State Governments comes to be discovered, the X currency will tend to appreciate as resources move towards it while the Y will tend to depreciate as resources move away from it. In an amalgamated model, efficient State Governments lose incentives to remain efficient, while in a differentiated model, inefficient State Governments will gain an incentive not to be inefficient. The present amalgamated situation is such that inefficient States – and this may include not only the State Government but also the State Legislature and the State electorate itself – receive no fiscal incentive to improve themselves. In a differentiated framework, the same inefficient State would face a tangible, visible loss of reserves or depreciation of its currency relative to other States on account of its inefficiency, and thereby have some incentive to mend its ways. I call the proposal given here a “Reverse Euro” model because Europe appears to be moving from differentiated currencies and money supplies to an amalgamated currency and money supply, while the argument given here for India is in the opposite direction. Professor Milton Friedman of the Hoover Institution at Stanford, has had the kindness, at the age of 88, to send me a brilliant and forceful critique of my Reverse Euro idea for India when I requested his comment. Since he is the founder of the flexible exchange-rate system and he has found it too radical, I have shelved it for the time being.

[2] The assistance of Dola Dasgupta and K. Shanmugam is recorded with gratitude.

[3] Surendranath Roy, A History of the Native States of India, Vol I. Gwalior, Calcutta & London: Thacker 1888.

[4] Large amounts of legal and constitutional precedent have built up on issues of a regional or local nature: whether a State legislature should be unicameral or bicameral, what should be its procedures, what days should be State holidays but need not be national holidays, on tenancy, rent control, school standards, health standards and so on ad infinitum. All this body of explicit and implicit local rules and conventions may be duly collected and placed in State-level Constitutions.

[5] James M. Buchanan, Limits to Liberty, Texas, 1978.

A major expansion and reorganization of the judiciary would have to accompany the sort of basic constitutional reform outlined above. Union and State judiciaries would need to be more clearly demarcated, and rules established for review of State-level decisions by Union courts of law. It is common knowledge the judiciary in India is in a state of organizational overload at the point of collapse and dysfunction. An expansion and reorganization of the judiciary to match new Union-State constitutional relations will likely improve efficiency, and therefore welfare levels of citizens.

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Rajiv Gandhi and the Origins of India’s 1991 Economic Reform

Rajiv Gandhi and the Origins of India’s 1991 Economic Reform

Subroto Roy

 

Author’s Note May 2008: The family of Rajiv Gandhi received a copy of this when it was first written in July 2005. An earlier abbreviated version “Encounter with Rajiv Gandhi: On the Origins of India’s 1991 Economic Reform” was published in October 2001 in Freedom First, Bombay, a journal founded by the late Minoo Masani and now edited by S V Raju. A copy of that article was received by all Congress MPs of the 13th Lok Sabha. In May 2002, the Congress Party passed an official resolution stating Rajiv Gandhi and not Narasimha Rao or Manmohan Singh was to be credited with having originated the 1991 economic reforms. This article has now been published in print in The Statesman Festival Volume, October 2007.  It may be profitably followed by “The Dream Team: A Critique”, “Solving Kashmir”, “Law, Justice & J&K”, “What to tell Musharraf”, “India’s Macroeconomics”, “Fiscal Instability”, “India’s Trade and Payments”, “Fallacious Finance”, “Against Quackery”, etc. My original advisory memoranda to Rajiv in 1990-1991 were published in The Statesman’s Editorial Pages July 31-August 2 1991, and now have been republished elsewhere here as well. See too https://independentindian.com/thoughts-words-deeds-my-work-1973-2010/rajiv-gandhi-and-the-origins-of-indias-1991-economic-reform/did-jagdish-bhagwati-originate-pioneer-intellectually-father-indias-1991-economic-reform-did-manmohan-singh-or-did-i-through-my-e/  https://independentindian.com/2014/08/07/haksar-manmohan-and-sonia/

 

 

 

I met Rajiv Gandhi for the first time on 18th September 1990 thanks to an introduction by S. S. Ray. We met a half dozen or so times until his assassination in May 1991. Yet our encounter was intense and consequential, and resulted directly in the change of the Congress Party’s economic thinking prior to the 1991 elections. I had with me results of an interdisciplinary “perestroika-for-India” project I had led at the University of Hawaii since 1986. This manuscript (later published by Sage as Foundations of India’s Political Economy: Towards an Agenda for the 1990s edited by myself and W. E. James) was given by me to Rajiv, then Leader of the Opposition, and was instrumental in the change of thinking that took place. In interests of fairness, I tried to get the work to V. P. Singh too because he was Prime Minister, but a key aide of his showed no interest in receiving it.

 

The Hawaii project manuscript contained inter alia a memorandum by Milton Friedman done at the request of the Government of India in November 1955, which had been suppressed for 34 years until I published it in May 1989. Milton and Rose Friedman refer to this in their memoirs Two Lucky People (Chicago 1998). Peter Bauer had told me of the existence of Friedman’s document during my doctoral work at Cambridge under Frank Hahn in the late 1970s, as did N. Georgescu-Roegen in America. Those were years in which Brezhnev still ruled in the Kremlin, Gorbachev was yet to emerge, Indira Gandhi and her pro-Moscow advisers were ensconced in New Delhi, and not even the CIA had imagined the Berlin Wall would fall and the Cold War would be over within a decade. It was academic suicide at the time to argue in favour of classical liberal economics even in the West. As a 22-year-old Visiting Assistant Professor at the Delhi School of Economics in 1977, I was greeted with uproarious laughter of senior professors when I spoke of a possible free market in foreign exchange. Cambridge was a place where Indian economists went to study the exploitation of peasants in Indian agriculture before returning to their friends in the well-known bastions of such matters in Delhi and Calcutta. It was not a place where Indian (let alone Bengali) doctoral students in economics mentioned the unmentionable names of Hayek or Friedman or Buchanan, and insisted upon giving their works a hearing.

 

My original doctoral topic in 1976 “A monetary theory for India” had to be altered not only due to paucity of monetary data at the time but because the problems of India’s political economy and allocation of resources in the real economy were far more pressing. The thesis that emerged in 1982 “On liberty and economic growth: preface to a philosophy for India” was a full frontal assault from the point of view of microeconomic theory on the “development planning” to which everyone routinely declared their fidelity, from New Delhi’s bureaucrats and Oxford’s “development” school to McNamara’s World Bank with its Indian staffers.

 

Frank Hahn protected my inchoate liberal arguments for India; and when no internal examiner could be found, Cambridge showed its greatness by appointing two externals, Bliss at Oxford and Hutchison at Birmingham, both Cambridge men. “Economic Theory and Development Economics” was presented to the American Economic Association in December 1982 in company of Solow, Chenery and other eminences, and then Pricing, Planning and Politics: A Study of Economic Distortions in India published by London’s Institute of Economic Affairs, provoking the lead editorial of The Times on May 29 1984. The Indian High Commission sent the editorial to the Finance Ministry where it caused a stir as the first classical liberal attack on post-Mahalonobis Indian economic thought since B. R. Shenoy’s original criticism decades earlier. The “perestroika-for-India” project was to follow at Hawaii starting in 1986. New Delhi was represented at the project’s conference held between May 22-27 1989 by the accredited Ambassador of India to the USA, the accredited Consul General of India to San Francisco, and by the founder-director of ICRIER (see photo).

 

friedman-et-al-at-uh-india-conf-19891

 

All this I brought into that first meeting with Rajiv Gandhi on September 18 1990. That first day he came to the door to greet me. He was a handsome tall man with the most charming smile and manner, seemed pleased to see me and put me at ease at once. I gave him my books as well as the manuscript of the “perestroika for India” project. He gave me a celebratory volume that had just been published to mark his grandfather’s centenary. He began by talking about how important he felt panchayati raj was, and said he had been on the verge of passing major legislation on it but then lost the election. He asked me if I could spend some time thinking about it, and that he would get the papers sent to me. I said I would and remarked panchayati raj might be seen as decentralized provision of public goods, and gave the economist’s definition of public goods as those essential for the functioning of the market economy, like the Rule of Law, roads, fresh water, and sanitation, but which were unlikely to appear through competitive forces.

 

I distinguished between federal, state and local levels and said many of the most significant public goods were best provided locally. Rajiv had not heard the term “public goods” before, and he beamed a smile and his eyes lit up as he voiced the words slowly, seeming to like the concept immensely. It occurred to me he had been by choice a pilot of commercial aircraft. Now he seemed intrigued to find there could be systematic ways of thinking about navigating a country’s governance by common pursuit of reasonable judgement. I said the public sector’s wastefulness had drained scarce resources that should have gone instead to provide public goods. Since the public sector was owned by the public, it could be privatised by giving away its shares to the public, preferably to panchayats of the poorest villages. The shares would become tradable, drawing out black money, and inducing a historic redistribution of wealth while at the same time achieving greater efficiency by transferring the public sector to private hands. Rajiv seemed to like that idea too, and said he tried to follow a maxim of Indira Gandhi’s that every policy should be seen in terms of how it affected the common man. I wryly said the common man often spent away his money on alcohol, to which he said at once it might be better to think of the common woman instead. (This remark of Rajiv’s may have influenced the “aam admi” slogan of the 2004 election, as all Congress Lok Sabha MPs of the previous Parliament came to receive a previous version of the present narrative.)

 

 

Our project had identified the Congress’s lack of internal elections as a problem; when I raised it, Rajiv spoke of how he, as Congress President, had been trying to tackle the issue of bogus electoral rolls. I said the judiciary seemed to be in a mess due to the backlog of cases; many of which seemed related to land or rent control, and it may be risky to move towards a free economy without a properly functioning judicial system or at least a viable system of contractual enforcement. I said a lot of problems which should be handled by the law in the courts in India were instead getting politicised and decided on the streets. Rajiv had seen the problems of the judiciary and said he had good relations with the Chief Justice’s office, which could be put to use to improve the working of the judiciary.

 

 

The project had worked on Pakistan as well, and I went on to say we should solve the problem with Pakistan in a definitive manner. Rajiv spoke of how close his government had been in 1988 to a mutual withdrawal from Siachen. But Zia-ul-Haq was then killed and it became more difficult to implement the same thing with Benazir Bhutto, because, he said, as a democrat, she was playing to anti-Indian sentiments while he had found it somewhat easier to deal with the military. I pressed him on the long-term future relationship between the countries and he agreed a common market was the only real long-term solution. I wondered if he could find himself in a position to make a bold move like offering to go to Pakistan and addressing their Parliament to break the impasse. He did not say anything but seemed to think about the idea. Rajiv mentioned a recent Time magazine cover of Indian naval potential, which had caused an excessive stir in Delhi. He then talked about his visit to China, which seemed to him an important step towards normalization. He said he had not seen (or been shown) any absolute poverty in China of the sort we have in India. He talked about the Gulf situation, saying he did not disagree with the embargo of Iraq except he wished the ships enforcing the embargo had been under the U.N. flag. The meeting seemed to go on and on, and I was embarrassed at perhaps having taken too much time and that he was being too polite to get me to go. V. George had interrupted with news that Sheila Dixit (as I recall) had just been arrested by the U. P. Government, and there were evidently people waiting. Just before we finally stood up I expressed a hope that he was looking to the future of India with an eye to a modern political and economic agenda for the next election, rather than getting bogged down with domestic political events of the moment. That was the kind of hopefulness that had attracted many of my generation in 1985. I said I would happily work in any way to help define a long-term agenda. His eyes lit up and as we shook hands to say goodbye, he said he would be in touch with me again.

 

The next day I was called and asked to stay in Delhi for a few days, as Mr. Gandhi wanted me to meet some people. I was not told whom I was to meet but that there would be a meeting on Monday, 24th September. On Saturday, the Monday meeting was postponed to Tuesday because one of the persons had not been able to get a flight into Delhi. I pressed to know what was going on, and was told I was to meet former army chief K.V. Krishna Rao, former foreign secretary M. K. Rasgotra, V. Krishnamurty and Sam Pitroda.

 

The group met for the first time on September 25 in the afternoon. Rasgotra did not arrive. Krishna Rao, Pitroda, Krishnamurty and I gathered in the waiting room next to George’s office. The three of them knew each other but none knew me and I was happy enough to be ignored. It seemed mysterious while we were gathering, especially when the tall well-dressed General arrived, since none of us knew why we had been called by Rajiv, and the General remarked to the others he had responded at once to the call to his home but could not get a flight into Delhi for a day.

 

Rajiv’s residence as Leader of the Opposition had a vast splendid meeting room, lined with high bookshelves on one or two walls, a large handsome desk on one side, two spacious comfortable sofa sets arranged in squares, and a long conference table with leather chairs occupying most of the rest of the room. The entrance to it was via a small 10 ft by 10 ft air-conditioned anteroom, where George sat, with a fax machine, typewriters and a shredding machine, plus several telephones, and a used copy of parliamentary procedures on the shelf. Getting to George’s office was the final step before reaching Rajiv. There were several chairs facing George, and almost every prospective interviewee, no matter how senior or self-important, had to move from one chair to the next, while making small talk with George, as the appointment with Rajiv drew near. Opening into George’s office was a larger and shabbier waiting room, which is where we sat, which was not air-conditioned, and which opened to the outside of the building where a plainclothes policeman sometimes stood around with a walkie-talkie. There were large photographs of Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru and Indira Gandhi on the wall, and a modern print also hung incongruously. A dozen or more plastic chairs lined the walls. There were faded torn issues of a few old magazines on the plastic coffee-table, and on one occasion there was a television playing the new sporadic domestic cable news and weather information for the entertainment of the many visitors waiting. Via this waiting room went the vast majority of people who were to meet Rajiv in his office. To reach the waiting room, one had to walk a hundred yards along a path lined by splendid high hedges from the initial reception desk at the rear-gate, manned by Congress Seva Dal volunteers in khadi wearing Gandhi-caps. These persons were in touch with George’s office by telephone, and would check with George or his assistant Balasubramaniam before sending a visitor along. The visitor would then pass through a metal-detector manned by a couple of policemen. If someone’s face came to be known and had been cleared once, or if someone acted to the policemen like a sufficiently important political personage, such a person seemed to be waved through. Outside, the front-entrance of the premises were closed unless extremely important people were entering or exiting, while at the rear-entrance there were usually two or three jeeps and several plainclothes policemen, who might or might not challenge the prospective visitor with a kind of “Who goes there?” attitude before the visitor reached the Seva Dal reception desk. The whole arrangement struck me from the first as insecure and inefficient, open to penetration by professional assassins or a terrorist squad, let aside insiders in the way Indira Gandhi had been assassinated. I could not imagine counter-terrorist commandos would suddenly appear from the high hedges in the event of an emergency.

 

On that Tuesday when Rajiv finally called in our group, we entered hesitantly not knowing quite what the meeting was going to be about. Rajiv introduced me to the others and then spoke of why he had gathered us together. He wanted us to come up with proposals and recommendations for the direction the country should take on an assumption the Congress Party was returned to power in the near future. He said it would help him to have an outside view from specialists who were not party functionaries, though the others obviously had been closely involved with Congress governments before. Rajiv said we were being asked to write a draft of what may enter the manifesto for the next election, which we should assume to be forthcoming by April 1991. I asked what might have become of the “perestroika” manuscript I had given him at our previous meeting. He said he had gotten it copied and bound, and that along with my 1984 monograph, it had been circulated among a few of his party colleagues who included P. Chidambaram and Mani Shankar Aiyar.

 

The initial meeting left us breathless and excited. Yet within a few days, the others became extremely tied up for personal causes, and I found myself alone in getting on with doing what we had been explicitly asked to do. I felt I should get done what I could in the time I had while keeping the others informed. Rajiv had said to me at our first meeting that he felt the Congress was ready for elections. This did not seem to me to be really the case. He actually seemed very isolated in his office, with George seeming to be his conduit to the outside world. I decided to start by trying to write a definite set of general principles that could guide and inform thought about the direction of policy. I spent the evening of October 26 in the offices at Rajiv’s residence, preparing an economic policy memorandum on a portable Toshiba computer of his, the first laptop I ever used. After Rajiv’s assassination, this was part of what was published in The Statesmen’s center pages July 31-August 2, 1991.

 

 

Rajiv read the work and met me on October 30 or 31, even though he was down badly with a sore throat after his sadbhavana travels around the country; he looked odd clad in khadi with a muffler and gym shoes. He said he liked very much what I had written and had given it to be read by younger Congress leaders who would discuss it for the manifesto, for an election he again said, he expected early in 1991. I said I was grateful for his kind words and inquired whom he had shown the work to. This time he said Chidambaram and also mentioned another name that made me wince. In December 1990, I was back in Hawaii when I was called on the phone to ask whether I could come to Delhi. With the rise of Chandrashekhar as Prime Minister, Rajiv had called a meeting of the group. But I could not go.

 

 

In January 1991, the Gulf War brought an odd twist to my interaction with Rajiv. On January 15, the UN deadline for the withdrawal of Iraq from Kuwait passed without Iraqi compliance, and American-led forces started the heavy aerial bombardment of Iraq. The American media had built up the impending war as one of utter devastation and mass killing, especially when the American infantry became engaged. Estimated casualties on the American side alone were being wildly exaggerated by the number of “body-bags” being ordered by the Pentagon. An even larger conflagration was being imagined if Israel entered the fighting, while Saddam Hussein had vowed to set fire to Kuwait’s oil-fields before retreating. I like everyone else erroneously believed the media’s hyperbole about the impending regional catastrophe. On January 16, just after the bombing of Iraq had begun, I called an American family friend who had retired from a senior foreign policy role and who had known me from when I was an infant. In informal conversation, I mentioned to him that since other channels had by then become closed, an informal channel might be attempted via India, specifically via Rajiv who was still Leader of the Opposition but on whom the Chandrashekhar Government depended. The sole aim would be to compel an immediate Iraqi withdrawal without further loss of life. What transpired over the next few days was that a proposal to that effect was communicated at Rajiv’s decision to a high level of the Iraqis on the one hand, and evidently received their assent, while at the same time, it was mentioned to the authorities on the American side. But nothing came of it. Rajiv initiated a correspondence with Chandrashekhar beginning January 19, demanding a coherent formulation of Indian policy in the Gulf war, and faxed me copies of this. By February 8, the Times of India led by saying Rajiv’s stand “on the Gulf War demonstrates both his experience and perspicacity … in consonance with an enlightened vision of national interest”, and urged Rajiv to “give the nation some respite from [the] non-government” of Chandrashekhar. I taped my phone conversations with Rajiv during the Gulf War because notes could not be taken at the necessary speed; in late December 1991, I was to give his widow a copy of the tape for her personal record.

 

 

I returned to Delhi on Monday, March 18, 1991 as new elections had been announced. Rasgotra said I should be in touch with Krishna Rao, and the next day March 19 Krishna Rao met me for several hours. I told him what I thought were the roots and results of the Gulf war. He in turn generously told me what had happened while I had been away. He said the group had met Rajiv in December with the proposal that Rajiv better organize his time by having an “office manager” of larger political stature than George. The name of a UP Congressman of integrity had been put forward, but nothing had come of it. Rajiv had been advised to keep Chandrashekhar in power through the autumn of 1991, as Chandrashekhar was doing Rajiv’s work for him of sidelining V. P. Singh. The idea was to cooperate with Chandrashekhar until he could be pushed up to the Presidency when that fell vacant. Rajiv had been advised not to work in a Chandrashekhar cabinet, though in my opinion, had we been like the Scandinavians, it was not impossible for a former prime minister to enter another cabinet on the right terms in the national interest of providing stable government, which was imperative at the time. Things seem to have slipped out of control when Chandrashekhar resigned. At that point, Rajiv called the group together and instructed them to write a draft of the manifesto for the impending elections. I had advised readiness back in September but the lack of organization had prevented much tangible progress at the time. Our group was to now report to a political manifesto-committee of three senior party leaders who would report to Rajiv. They were Narasimha Rao, Pranab Mukherjee and Madhavsingh Solanki. Krishna Rao liased with Narasimha Rao, Krishnamurty with Mukherjee, Pitroda with Solanki. While Rajiv would obviously lead a new Congress Government, Mukherjee was the presumptive Finance Minister, while Narasimha Rao and Solanki would have major portfolios though Narasimha Rao was expected to retire before too long.

 

 

Krishna Rao said I should be in touch with Krishnamurty who was preparing the economic chapters of the draft of the manifesto. Krishnamurty told me he had brought in A. M. Khusro to the group, and there would be a 5 p.m. meeting at Khusro’s office at the Aga Khan Foundation. I arrived early and was delighted to meet Khusro, and he seemed pleased to meet me. Khusro seemed excited by my view that India and Pakistan were spending excessively on defence against each other, which resonated with his own ideas, and he remarked the fiscal disarray in India and Pakistan could start to be set right by mutually agreed cuts in military spending. (Khusro was eventually to accompany Prime Minister Vajpayee to Lahore in 1999).

 

 

Krishnamurty had prepared a draft dated March 18 of several pages of the economic aspects of the manifesto. After our discussions, Krishnamurty was hospitable enough to open the draft to improvement. That evening, the 19th, I worked through the night and the next morning to get by noon copies of a revised version with all the members of the group. At 4 p.m. on the 20th there was a meeting at Andhra Bhavan of the whole group except Pitroda, which went on until the night. The next day the 21st , Krishnamurty, Khusro and I met again at Andhra Bhavan for a few hours on the economic aspects of the draft. Then in mid-afternoon I went to Rasgotra’s home to work with him and Krishna Rao. They wanted me to produce the economic draft which they could then integrate as they wished into the material they were dictating to a typist. I offered instead to absorb their material directly on to my laptop computer where the economic draft was. Rasgotra was reluctant to let go control, and eventually I gave in and said I would get them a hard copy of the economic draft, which they then planned to re-draft via a stenographer on a typewriter. At this, Rasgotra gave in and agreed to my solution. So the work began and the three of us continued until late.

 

That night Krishna Rao dropped me at Tughlak Road where I used to stay with friends. In the car I told him, as he was a military man with heavy security cover for himself as a former Governor of J&K, that it seemed to me Rajiv’s security was being unprofessionally handled, that he was vulnerable to a professional assassin. Krishna Rao asked me if I had seen anything specific by way of vulnerability. With John Kennedy and De Gaulle in mind, I said I feared Rajiv was open to a long-distance sniper, especially when he was on his campaign trips around the country.

 

This was one of several attempts I made since October 1990 to convey my clear impression to whomever I thought might have an effect that Rajiv seemed to me extremely vulnerable. Rajiv had been on sadhbhavana journeys, back and forth into and out of Delhi. I had heard he was fed up with his security apparatus, and I was not surprised given it seemed at the time rather bureaucratized. It would not have been appropriate for me to tell him directly that he seemed to me to be vulnerable, since I was a newcomer and a complete amateur about security issues, and besides if he agreed he might seem to himself to be cowardly or have to get even closer to his security apparatus. Instead I pressed the subject relentlessly with whomever I could. I suggested specifically two things: (a) that the system in place at Rajiv’s residence and on his itineraries be tested, preferably by some internationally recognized specialists in counter-terrorism; (b) that Rajiv be encouraged to announce a shadow-cabinet. The first would increase the cost of terrorism, the second would reduce the potential political benefit expected by terrorists out to kill him. On the former, it was pleaded that security was a matter being run by the V. P. Singh and then Chandrashekhar Governments at the time. On the latter, it was said that appointing a shadow cabinet might give the appointees the wrong idea, and lead to a challenge to Rajiv’s leadership. This seemed to me wrong, as there was nothing to fear from healthy internal contests for power so long as they were conducted in a structured democratic framework. I pressed to know how public Rajiv’s itinerary was when he travelled. I was told it was known to everyone and that was the only way it could be since Rajiv wanted to be close to the people waiting to see him and had been criticized for being too aloof. This seemed to me totally wrong and I suggested that if Rajiv wanted to be seen as meeting the crowds waiting for him then that should be done by planning to make random stops on the road that his entourage would take. This would at least add some confusion to the planning of potential terrorists out to kill him. When I pressed relentlessly, it was said I should probably speak to “Madame”, i.e. to Mrs. Rajiv Gandhi. That seemed to me highly inappropriate, as I could not be said to be known to her and I should not want to unduly concern her in the event it was I who was completely wrong in my assessment of the danger. The response that it was not in Congress’s hands, that it was the responsibility of the V. P. Singh and later the Chandrashekhar Governments, seemed to me completely irrelevant since Congress in its own interests had a grave responsibility to protect Rajiv Gandhi irrespective of what the Government’s security people were doing or not doing. Rajiv was at the apex of the power structure of the party, and a key symbol of secularism and progress for the entire country. Losing him would be quite irreparable to the party and the country. It shocked me that the assumption was not being made that there were almost certainly professional killers actively out to kill Rajiv Gandhi — this loving family man and hapless pilot of India’s ship of state who did not seem to have wished to make enemies among India’s terrorists but whom the fates had conspired to make a target. The most bizarre and frustrating response I got from several respondents was that I should not mention the matter at all as otherwise the threat would become enlarged and the prospect made more likely! This I later realized was a primitive superstitious response of the same sort as wearing amulets and believing in Ptolemaic astrological charts that assume the Sun goes around the Earth — centuries after Kepler and Copernicus. Perhaps the entry of scientific causality and rationality is where we must begin in the reform of India’s governance and economy. What was especially repugnant after Rajiv’s assassination was to hear it said by his enemies that it marked an end to “dynastic” politics in India. This struck me as being devoid of all sense because the unanswerable reason for protecting Rajiv Gandhi was that we in India, if we are to have any pretensions at all to being a civilized and open democratic society, cannot tolerate terrorism and assassination as means of political change. Either we are constitutional democrats willing to fight for the privileges of a liberal social order, or ours is truly a primitive and savage anarchy concealed beneath a veneer of fake Westernization.

 

 

The next day, Friday March 22, I worked from dawn to get the penultimate draft to Krishna Rao before noon as planned the night before. Rasgotra arrived shortly, and the three of us worked until evening to finish the job. I left for an hour to print out copies for a meeting of the entire group, where the draft we were going to submit would come to be decided. When I got back I found Rasgotra had launched an extended and quite unexpected attack on what had been written on economic policy. Would someone like Manmohan Singh, Rasgotra wanted to know, agree with all this talk we were putting in about liberalization and industrial efficiency? I replied I did not know what Manmohan Singh’s response would be but I knew he had been in Africa heading something called the South-South Commission for Julius Nyrere of Tanzania. I said what was needed was a clear forceful statement designed to restore India’s credit-worthiness, and the confidence of international markets. I said that the sort of thing we should aim for was to make clear, e.g. to the IMF’s man in Delhi when that person read the manifesto, that the Congress Party at least knew its economics and was planning to make bold new steps in the direction of progress. I had argued the night before with Rasgotra that on foreign policy we should “go bilateral” with good strong ties with individual countries, and drop all the multilateral hogwash. But I did not wish to enter into a fight on foreign policy which he was writing, so long as the economic policy was left the way we said. Krishnamurty, Khusro and Pitroda came to my defence saying the draft we had done greatly improved on the March 18 draft. For a bare half hour or so with all of us present, the draft was agreed upon. Later that night at Andhra Bhavan, I gave Krishna Rao the final copy of the draft manifesto which he was going to give Narasimha Rao the next day, and sent a copy to Krishnamurty who was liaising with Pranab Mukherjee. Pitroda got a copy on a floppy disc the next day for Solanki.

 

 

In its constructive aspects, the March 22 1991 draft of the Congress manifesto went as follows with regard to economic policy: “CHAPTER V AGENDA FOR ECONOMIC ACTION 1. Control of Inflation …. The Congress believes the inflation and price-rise of essential commodities… is a grave macroeconomic problem facing the country today. It has hit worst the poorest and weakest sections of our people and those with fixed incomes like pensioners. The Congress will give highest priority to maintaining the prices of essential commodities, increasing their production and supply using all appropriate economic instruments. 2. Macroeconomic Policy Framework To control inflation of the general price-level, the Congress will provide a predictable long-term policy framework. The average Indian household and business will not have their lives and plans disrupted by sudden changes in economic policy. Coherent monetary policy measures will be defined as called for by the Report of Experts of the Reserve Bank of India in 1985. The Long-Term Fiscal Policy introduced by the Congress Government of 1984-1989 will be revived. Medium and long-term export-import policies will be defined. The basis for a strong India must be a strong economy. The Congress believes a high rate of real growth is essential for securing a strong national defence, social justice and equity, and a civilized standard of living for all. As the party of self-reliance, Congress believes resources for growth must be generated from within our own economy. This means all wasteful and unproductive Government spending has to be cut, and resources transferred from areas of low priority to areas of high national priority. Subsidies have to be rationalized and reduced, and productivity of investments already made has to be improved. The widening gap between revenue receipts and revenue expenditure must be corrected through fiscal discipline, and the growing national debt brought under control as a matter of high priority. These policies in a consistent framework will create the environment for the freeing of the rupee in due course, making it a hard currency of the world of which our nation can be proud. Public resources are not unlimited. These have to be allocated to high priority areas like essential public services, poverty-reduction, strategic sectors, and protection of the interests of the weaker sections of society. Government has to leave to the initiative and enterprise of the people what can be best done by themselves. Government can now progressively vacate some areas of activity to the private, cooperative and non-government sectors. Black money in the parallel economy has become the plague of our economic and political system. This endangers the social and moral fabric of our nation. Artificial price controls, excessive licensing, capacity restrictions, outmoded laws on rent control and urban ceiling, and many other outdated rules and regulations have contributed to pushing many honest citizens into dishonest practices. The Congress will tackle the problem of black money at its roots by attacking all outmoded and retrograde controls, and simplifying procedures in all economic spheres. At the same time, the tax-base of the economy must be increased via simplification and rationalization of tax-rates and coverage, user-fees for public goods, and reduction of taxes wherever possible to improve incentives and stimulate growth. 3. Panchayati Raj India’s farmers and khet mazdoors are the backbone of our economy. Economic development is meaningless until their villages provide them a wholesome rural life. The Congress will revitalize Panchayat Raj institutions to decentralize decision-making, so development can truly benefit local people most effectively. 4. Rural Development Basic economic infrastructure like roads, communications, fresh drinking water, and primary health and education for our children must reach all our villages. The Congress believes such a policy will also relieve pressures from migration on our towns and cities…… Through the Green Revolution which the Congress pioneered over 25 years, our farmers have prospered. Now our larger farmers must volunteer to contribute more to the national endeavour, and hence to greater equity and overall economic development. Equity demands land revenue should be mildly graduated so that small farmers holding less than one acre pay less land revenue per acre…. 9. Education and Health The long-run prosperity of our nation depends on the general state of education, health and well-being of our people. Small families give themselves more choice and control over their own lives. Improving female literacy, promoting the welfare of nursing mothers and reducing infant mortality will have a direct bearing on reducing the birth-rate and improving the health and quality of all our people. Primary and secondary education has high social returns and is the best way in the long-run for achievement of real equality. Efforts will be made to reduce the cost of education for the needy through concessional supply of books and other study materials, scholarships and assistance for transportation and residential facilities. The Congress Party pledges to dedicate itself to promoting education, especially in rural areas and especially for girls and the weaker sections of society. The next Congress Government will prepare and launch a 10-year programme for introduction of free and compulsory primary education for all children of school age. It will continue to emphasize vocational bias in education, integrating it closely with employment opportunities…. 11. Industrial Efficiency Our industrial base in the private and public sectors are the core of our economy. What we have achieved until today has been creditable, and we are self-reliant in many areas. Now the time has come for industry to provide more efficiency and better service and product-quality for the Indian consumer. The public sector has helped the Indian economy since Independence and many national goals have been achieved. Now it has become imperative that the management of public sector units is made effective, and their productivity increased. Major steps must be taken for greater accountability and market-orientation. Failure to do this will make our country lose more and more in the international economy. Budgetary support will be given only for public sector units in the core and infrastructure sectors. Emphasis will be on improving performance and productivity of existing investments, not on creating added organizations or over manning. Units not in the core sector will be privatised gradually. Even in core sectors like Telecommunications, Power, Steel and Coal, incremental needs can be taken care of by the private sector. The Government-Enterprise interface must be properly defined in a White Paper. The Congress believes privatisation must distribute the profits equitably among the people of India. In order to make our public enterprises truly public, it is essential that the shares of many such enterprises are widely held by the members of the general public and workers. Congress pledges to allot a proportion of such shares to the rural Panchayats and Nagarpalikas. This will enhance their asset-base and yield income for their development activities, as well as improve income-distribution. 12. Investment and Trade Indian industry, Government and professional managers are now experienced enough to deal with foreign companies on an equal footing, and channel direct foreign investment in desired directions. Foreign companies often bring access to advanced technological know-how, without which the nation cannot advance. The Congress Government will formulate a pragmatic policy channelling foreign investment into areas important to the national interest. Every effort must be made also to encourage Indians who are outside India to invest in the industry, trade and real estate of their homeland. Because of the protected and inflationary domestic market, Indian industry has become complacent and the incentive for industrial exports has been weakened. When all production is comfortably absorbed at home, Indian industry makes the effort to venture into exports only as a last resort. This must change. A Congress Government will liberalize and deregulate industry to make it competitive and export-oriented, keeping in mind always the interests of the Indian consumer in commercial policy. Export-oriented and predictable commercial policies will be encouraged. Existing procedural constraints and bottlenecks will be removed. Quotas and tariffs will be rationalized. Thrust areas for export-development will be identified and monitored. Efforts will be made to develop a South Asian Community. Trade and economic cooperation among South Asian countries must be increased and simplified.”

 

 

This March 22 1991 draft of the Congress’s intended economic policies got circulated and discussed, and from it rumours and opinions appeared that Congress was planning to launch a major economic reform in India. Economic Times said the manifesto “is especially notable for its economic agenda” and Business Standard said “if party manifestos decide election battles” Congress must be “considered home and dry”. A senior IMF official told me three years later the manifesto had indeed seemed a radical and bold move in the direction of progress, which had been exactly our intended effect. When I met Manmohan Singh at the residence of S. S. Ray in September 1993 in Washington, Ray told him and his senior aides the Congress manifesto had been written on my computer. Manmohan Singh smiled and said that when Arjun Singh and other senior members of the Congress had challenged him in the cabinet, he had pointed to the manifesto. Yet, oddly enough, while the March 22 draft got discussed and circulated, and the Indian economic reform since July 1991 corresponded in fundamental ways to its contents as reproduced above, the actual published Congress manifesto in April 1991 was as tepid and rhetorical as usual, as if some party hack had before publication put in the usual nonsense about e.g. bringing down inflation via price-controls. Certainly the published manifesto was wholly undistinguished in its economic aspects, and had nothing in it to correspond to the bold change of attitude towards economic policy that actually came to be signalled by the 1991 Government.

 

 

On March 23, our group was to meet Rajiv at noon. There was to be an event in the inner lawns of Rajiv’s residence in the morning, where he would launch Krishna Rao’s book on India’s security. Krishna Rao had expressly asked me to come but I had to wait outside the building patiently, not knowing if it was a mistake or if it was deliberate. This was politics after all, and I had ruffled feathers during my short time there. While I waited, Rajiv was speaking to a farmers’ rally being held at grounds adjoining his residence, and there appeared to be thousands of country folk who had gathered to hear him. When it was over, Rajiv, smiling nervously and looking extremely uncomfortable, was hoisted atop people’s shoulders and carried back to the residence by his audience. As I watched, my spine ran cold at the thought that any killer could have assassinated him with ease in that boisterous crowd, right there in the middle of Delhi outside his own residence. It was as if plans for his security had been drawn up without any strategic thinking underlying them.

 

 

Krishna Rao arrived and graciously took me inside for his book launch. The event was attended by the Congress’s top brass, including Narasimha Rao whom I met for the first time, as well as foreign military attaches and officers of the Indian armed forces. The attaché of one great power went about shaking hands and handing out his business card to everyone. I stood aside and watched. Delhi felt to me that day like a sieve, as if little could be done without knowledge of the embassies. One side wanted to sell arms, aircraft or ships, while the other wanted trips abroad or jobs or green cards or whatever for their children. And I thought Islamabad would be worse — could India and Pakistan make peace in this fetid ether?

 

 

Proceedings began when Rajiv arrived. This elite audience mobbed him just as the farmers had mobbed him earlier. He saw me and beamed a smile in recognition, and I smiled back but made no attempt to draw near him in the crush. He gave a short very apt speech on the role the United Nations might have in the new post-Gulf War world. Then he launched the book, and left for an investiture at Rashtrapati Bhavan. We waited for our meeting with him, which finally happened in the afternoon. Rajiv was plainly at the point of exhaustion and still hard-pressed for time. He seemed pleased to see me and apologized for not talking in the morning. Regarding the March 22 draft, he said he had not read it but that he would be doing so. He said he expected the central focus of the manifesto to be on economic reform, and an economic point of view in foreign policy, and in addition an emphasis on justice and the law courts. I remembered our September 18 conversation and had tried to put in justice and the courts into our draft but had been over-ruled by others. I now said the social returns of investment in the judiciary were high but was drowned out again. Rajiv was clearly agitated that day by the BJP and blurted out he did not really feel he understood what on earth they were on about. He said about his own family, “We’re not religious or anything like that, we don’t pray every day.” I felt again what I had felt before, that here was a tragic hero of India who had not really wished to be more than a happy family man until he reluctantly was made into a national leader against his will. We were with him for an hour or so. As we were leaving, he said quickly at the end of the meeting he wished to see me on my own and would be arranging a meeting. One of our group was staying back to ask him a favour. Just before we left, I managed to say to him what I felt was imperative: “The Iraq situation isn’t as it seems, it’s a lot deeper than it’s been made out to be.” He looked at me with a serious look and said “Yes I know, I know.” It was decided Pitroda would be in touch with each of us in the next 24 hours. During this time Narasimha Rao’s manifesto committee would read the draft and any questions they had would be sent to us. We were supposed to be on call for 24 hours. The call never came. Given the near total lack of system and organization I had seen over the months, I was not surprised. Krishna Rao and I waited another 48 hours, and then each of us left Delhi. Before going I dropped by to see Krishnamurty, and we talked at length. He talked especially about the lack of the idea of teamwork in India. Krishnamurty said he had read everything I had written for the group and learned a lot. I said that managing the economic reform would be a critical job and the difference between success and failure was thin.

 

 

I got the afternoon train to Calcutta and before long left for America to bring my son home for his summer holidays with me. In Singapore, the news suddenly said Rajiv Gandhi had been killed. All India wept. What killed him was not merely a singular act of criminal terrorism, but the system of humbug, incompetence and sycophancy that surrounds politics in India and elsewhere. I was numbed by rage and sorrow, and did not return to Delhi. Eleven years later, on 25 May 2002, press reports said “P. V. Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh lost their place in Congress history as architects of economic reforms as the Congress High command sponsored an amendment to a resolution that had laid credit at the duo’s door. The motion was moved by…. Digvijay Singh asserting that the reforms were a brainchild of the late Rajiv Gandhi and that the Rao-Singh combine had simply nudged the process forward.” Rajiv’s years in Government, like those of Indira Gandhi, were in fact marked by profligacy and the resource cost of poor macroeconomic policy since bank-nationalisation may be as high as Rs. 125 trillion measured in 1994 rupees. Certainly though it was Rajiv Gandhi as Leader of the Opposition in his last months who was the principal architect of the economic reform that came to begin after his passing.

Philosophy of Economics: On the Scope of Reason in Economic Inquiry (1989)

Apropos *Philosophy of Economics*

“Dr. Roy’s book, Philosophy of Economics, which I have read in galleys, I regard as a masterpiece, not only in economic analysis but in philosophic analysis as well.  Sidney Hook 1989

“I shall have to ponder your rejection of the Humean position which has, I suppose, been central in not only my thought but that of most economists. Candidly, I have never understood what late Wittgenstein was saying, but I have not worked very hard at his work, and perhaps your book will give guidance.” Kenneth J. Arrow, letter to the author, 1989

“I was grateful for the reminder of the passage of Aristotle at which I had not looked for many years and found the criticism of Arrow well justified and important.”  FA Hayek, letter to the author, 1981

“It is an extraordinarily well-written and well-thought through book that shows a wide-ranging capacity and understanding of economics as a discipline in both its macro and micro aspects.” Milton Friedman 1991, Evidence in the US District Court for the District of Hawaii.

“There is no doubt whatsoever that he has a thorough and deep understanding of the major issues that have occupied macroeconomics over the past fifty years…. It is a sign of real understanding that Roy can state these ideas not in terms of jargon, not in terms of equations or technical terms, but in straightforward English using only a minimum of specifically economic terminology. All in all, it is a very knowledgeable and sophisticated performance.”Milton Friedman, 1989

“I had the privilege of reading early drafts of this book. I saw it emerge as an in-depth analysis of the philosophical foundations of economics. It is scholarship of a high order. It is an original contribution of major importance to economic thought.”  Theodore W. Schultz 1989

“The core of Roy’s study is devoted to the nature and grounds of economics as knowledge; it examines the basic intellectual roots of economics. It is cogent and, what is exceedingly rare these days, it is refreshingly lucid…. Roy’s book is in several important respects an original contribution, the most important being his treatment of the philosophical foundations of economics as knowledge. He is all too modest in assessing the importance of his contribution.” Theodore W. Schultz, 1983

“(This) is a very ambitious work directed at the foundations of normative judgements in economics. The author arrives at some conclusions very closely matching those I arrived at some years ago. It is clear, however, that Dr. Roy arrived at his conclusions completely independently. That is all the more piquant to me in that the philosophical underpinning of his work is the development of philosophy in England  from the later Wittgenstein, while mine derives principally from earlier work in the United States by the pragmatists… Dr. Roy reveals a clear understanding of the methodological positivism that invaded economic policy analysis in the thirties and still dominates the literature of economics…. Following Renford Bambrough….he arrives at a position equivalent to that of the American pragmatists, especially Dewey, who insist that the problematic situation provides the starting point for the analysis of a problem even though there are no ultimate starting points. The methodological implication is the support of inquiry as fundamental, avoiding both scepticism and dogmatism. Roy develops his position with a great deal of attention to the ramifications of the problem both in philosophy and in economics. While his treatment of economic questions is ‘from the top down’ so to speak, it reveals a strong command of conventional economic analysis. He writes very well and thinks very clearly. He is certainly not afraid to tackle the big questions. His book reveals a keen mind, ready to pay almost undue respect to his forerunners, but anxious also to achieve originality….”Sidney Stuart Alexander, 1985

“I know that I have to continue to bear the responsibility for things that I wrote nearly fifty years ago.  I am however glad that your attention has been drawn to that passage written much more recently…. building up to what I think is  a coherent point of view very different from that which I took in ’34 and ’39…. concerned with a field not far removed from that you  reach…”   John R Hicks, letter to the author, 1984

“A work altogether well written and admirably clear.”Renford Bambrough, 1985

“I like very much the courage in trying to produce a genuine philosophy of economics. Such a book is badly needed and could be very useful to economists. The fine use made of extensive readings in older as well as contemporary theorists and the splendid choice of quotations would themselves be worth the price of admission. The style maintains a fine level of clarity and emphasis.” Max Black 1985

“The discussion of Arrow’s theorem under unintended interpretations focuses our understanding on what is really fundamental to this famous result…. Roy has obviously thought much harder about the foundational and methodological problems in economics than most of his fellow-economists.” Anonymous

“Roy’s platonist view of what is the purpose of government is very odd at this stage of history. He seems to suppose that there is an objectively best state of affairs which we must simply discover. The more urgent issue in politics is generally not that of knowing what is the best thing to do but of dealing with conflicting interests. Conflict of interests is not merely disagreement over facts.” Anonymous

“The author has performed a very valuable service for economists interested in the philosophical problems and positions discussed. He has not misrepresented the positions he discusses and his account of various issues and different positions on those issues is philosophically adequate. Many economists will be stimulated as a result of reading this work to reconsider their own positions on the issues Roy addresses.” Anonymous

“The work has many strengths. It is wide in its references and its outlook. Its endorsement of objectivism is both right and timely. The chapter on mathematics in economics is particularly fine.” Anonymous

KGZ
“The author intends to discuss some of the central philosophical questions facing modern economic theory. In the foreground is a disposition of the conventional problem of value-independence. Roy sees the value-independence postulate as “Hume’s Scepticism”. He defines Hume’s First and Second Laws on the basis of two signified propositions taken from R. M. Hare. (1) From positive empirical premises, no normative postulate can be derived; in order to establish obligatory propositions, at least one normative proposition is needed. (2) In a specified economic context, after all empirical and formal/logical matters are resolved, little scope exists for further intersubjectively valid answers. Valuations beyond this limit are based on the subjective feelings of the economist to the concerned problem. The scientific/theoretical attitude representative of most economists of the 20th century has been based on this characteristic Humean scepticism. To show this, the author reviews short representative quotations from some of the known names of recent economic theory: Friedman, Myrdal, Lionel Robbins, P. A. Samuelson, Hicks, Joan Robinson, Hayek, Oskar Lange, Schumpeter, Arrow, Blaug, Frank Hahn. Subsequently, the author raises the point as to what explains this scientific-theoretical approval. A cursory survey of important real and virtual historical developments since antiquity confirms that the essential reason for the reported wide acceptance of a humean position by the economic scientist indeed could have been as a defensive posture against dogmatism and political dictatorship (“It is part of the democratic reaction against medieval authoritarianism” p.45). Conditioned by their “disgust with the tyrannies and ideologies of the twentieth century”, these authorities tried to protect economic science and guarantee the objectivity of research by resort to moral scepticism. Hence the author arrives at the starting position of his actual subject: After using Hume to escape from dependence on Plato e tutti quanti, has not value-free economics gotten into a fresh dependence, namely, moral scepticism and its philosophical consequence, moral indifference? Here too a contradiction is shown to arise, namely, that each argumentation against the normative can stand its ground only through normative premises. Thus ultimately something like correct standards become necessary. This however is only a marginal problem compared to a very much more important point: whether the moral scepticism permeating the strict scientific-theoretical position, is not just part of a very much more comprehensive scepticism, which includes Hume’s own criticism of induction as well. But then the same scepticism makes positive theory dubious as well: “Either all of positive economics is attacked with just as much scepticism as anything in normative economics, or we accept one and reject the other when instead there are reasons to think they share the same ultimate grounds and must be accepted or rejected together”(p.47). The author illustrates the difficulties with radical scepticism in a continental traversal of economic theory: micro and macroeconomics, mathematical economic theory and welfare theory are stations on this tour. A solution of the problem in the strict sense is not given nor could have been expected. But Roy delivers a methodical rule which permits a more exact definition of the limits to which normative discussion can take place precisely and objectively: first, to distinguish always whether an objective answer is at all possible to certain questions, and secondly, to ask who is competent or in the best position to give an answer. For readers interested in a new, thoroughly subtle discussion of a basic yet customary problem, this book will be profitable reading. However, the author could have argued some matters slightly more elaborately and others less redundantly, and set forth the central idea more clearly through appropriate summaries.” Karl Georg Zinn, in Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik / Zeitschrift für Wirtschaft und Statistik. Vol. 209, Nr. 5/6 (May 1992), p 573-574, translated from the German by Nahar Bhattacharya. 

“Effectively demonstrates the direct and significant links between the basic philosophical beliefs held by economists and their fundamental disagreements” Kyklos (Switzerland).

“Every rule of good argument is flouted. Does little to grapple with the large issues to which he rightly urges us to attend.” Times Literary Supplement (UK).

“Not the book to set off the revolution in economic epistemology and it is not even a reliable introduction to the field for undergraduates.” Journal of Applied Philosophy (UK).

“Subroto Roy’s Philosophy of Economics is a formidable contribution…. The author’s aim is to steer a middle course between scepticism and dogmatism in his account of the knowledge we can have of economic phenomena, and in this he largely succeeds. The result is a most distinguished and valuable exploration of the nature of economic inquiry.” John Gray, Economic Affairs (UK).

“Interesting and well-written. Definitely worthwhile being read by any economist interested in the philosophical foundations of his subject and profession.”
Journal of Institutional & Theoretical Economics (Germany).

“Roy’s basic argument is that the theory of economic knowledge underlying the work of most economists is logically inconsistent… The inconsistency lies in not permitting the skepticism that undermines the analysis of normative problems to destroy the logical foundation underlying positive analysis….. This well-documented study is a worthwhile contribution to the burgeoning literature on the philosophy of economics.” Choice

“The central argument of the book shows that the skepticism/dogmatism choice is a false dichotomy, that one need not embrace dogmatism in order to have objectivity or give up objectivity for freedom…. In the final section of the book Roy applies his critique… to several debates in economics. Chapter 8 presents the development of macroeconomics from John Maynard Keynes to the present through a dialogue between economists of opposing schools… Chapter 9 is a rich, wide-ranging discussion of mathematical models in economics…. Chapter 10 discusses the foundations of welfare economics… Roy shows how philosophical mistakes can lead economic thought astray, even though some of his arguments are also unsound. As a philosopher I find it encouraging to see an economist apply recent developments in epistemology to economic debates.” Journal of Economic History

“Accomplished, interesting and ambitious.” Mary Farmer, Manchester School (UK) 

“Perfectly sensible.” De Economist (Netherlands).

“Engaging and illuminating study. His seamless style may lull the reader into underestimating the extent and difficulty of the philosophical ground covered.” Research in History & Methodology of Economics (USA).

“(Roy’s) message is for his fellow economists, urging them not to shy away from the treatment of normative issues in their discipline.” – Economics and Philosophy

“When Roy refers to the present received theory of economics, he means that this is the view not only of Chicago, but also of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Cambridge, England, of Friedman, Samuelson, Myrdal, Hayek, and Joan Robinson. His coverage is broad…. In one place he states that it is precisely because it is possible for even a unanimous group of experts to be wrong that we have a reason, an objective reason, why freedom is to be valued. ‘Freedom is necessary for objectivity.’…. Whether one agrees or disagrees, one has to be impressed by the knowledge and sophistication involved in Roy’s presentation. Involved here is no run-of-the-mill carping at the economics establishment. This is a serious thoughtful work.” Social Science Quarterly

https://independentindian.com/thoughts-words-deeds-my-work-1973-2010/philosophy-of-economics-on-the-scope-of-reason-in-economic-inquiry-1989/

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First published by Routledge of London & New York , 1989, in the International Library of Philosophy

Library of Congress HB72.R69 1989

British Library 330’.01-dc19
Economics – philosophical perspectives
ISBN 0-415-03592-9

Reprinted in paperback, 1991
Library of Congress HB72.R69.1991
British Library 330’.01-dc20
ISBN0-415-06028-1

Postscript Twitter 8 July 2016

 pabeypabe

Philosophy of Economics

On the Scope of Reason in Economic Inquiry

Subroto Roy
© 1989, 1991, 2007 Subroto Roy

First published by Routledge of London & New York , 1989, in the International Library of Philosophy,

Library of Congress HB72.R69 1989

British Library 330’.01-dc19
Economics – philosophical perspectives
ISBN 0-415-03592-9

Reprinted in paperback, 1991
Library of Congress HB72.R69.1991
British Library 330’.01-dc20
ISBN0-415-06028-1

Preface to 2007 WordPress.com Republication

This book germinated when I was 18 or 19 years of age in Paris, Helsinki and London, and it was first published when I was 34 in Honolulu. I came to economics from natural science (biology, chemistry, physics), not mathematics. It was inevitable I would be drawn to the beauty of philosophy as a theoretical discipline while being driven, as a post-Independence Indian, to economics as the practical discipline that might unlock secrets to India’s prosperity and progress. I belonged to an ancient family of political men, and my father, who had joined India’s new foreign service the year before I was born, inculcated in me as a boy an idea that I had “a mission” (though he later forgot he had done so).

I was fortunate to fail to enter Oxford’s PPE and instead go to the London School of Economics. LSE was at an intellectual peak in the early 1970s. DHN Johnson in international law, ACL Day in international monetary economics, Brian Griffiths vs Marcus Miller in monetary economics with everyone still in awe of Harry Johnson’s graduate lectures in macroeconomics, Ken Wallis, Graham Mizon, JJ Thomas, David Hendry in econometrics with the odd lecture by Durbin himself – I was exposed to a fully grown up intellectual seriousness from the day I arrived as an 18 year old. Michio Morishima as my professorial tutor told me frankly that, as an Indian, I would face less prejudice in Western academia than in the private sector, and said he was speaking from experience as a fellow-Asian. He turned out to be wrong but it was wise advice nevertheless, just as wise as his requiring pupils to read Hicks’ Value and Capital (which, in our undergraduate mythology, he himself had read inside a Japanese gunboat during war).

What was relatively weak at LSE was general economic theory. We were good at deriving the Best Linear Unbiased Estimator but left unsatisfied with our grasp of the theory of value that constituted the roots of our discipline. I managed a First and was admitted to Cambridge as a Research Student in 1976, where fortune had Frank Hahn choose me as a student. That at the outset was protection from the communist cabal that ran “development economics” with whom almost all the Indians ended up. I was wholly impecunious in my first year as a Research Student, and had to, for example, proof-read Arrow and Hahn’s General Competitive Analysis for its second edition to receive 50 pounds sterling from Hahn which kept me going for a short time. My exposure to Hahn’s subtle, refined and depthless thought as an economist of the first rank led to fascination and wonderment, and I read and re-read his “On the notion of equilibrium in economics”, “On the foundations of monetary theory”, “Keynesian economics and general equilibrium theory” and other clear-headed attempts to integrate the theory of value with the theory of money — a project Wicksell and Marshall had (perhaps wisely) not attempted and Keynes, Hicks and Patinkin had failed at.

Hahn insisted a central question was to ask how money, which is intrinsically worthless, can have any value, why anyone should want to hold it. The practical relevance of this question is manifest. India today in 2007 has an inconvertible currency, vast and growing public debt financed by money-creation, and more than two dozen fiscally irresponsible State governments without money-creating powers. While pondering, over the last decade, whether India’s governance could be made more responsible if States were given money-creating powers, I have constantly had Hahn’s seemingly abstruse question from decades ago in mind, as to why anyone will want to hold State currencies in India, as to whether the equilibrium price of those monies would be positive. (Lerner in fact gave an answer in 1945 when he suggested that any money would have value if its issuer agreed to collect liabilities in it — as a State collects taxes – and that may be the simplest road that bridges the real/monetary divide.)

Though we were never personal friends and I did not ingratiate myself with Hahn as did many others, my respect for him only grew when I saw how he had protected my inchoate classical liberal arguments for India from the most vicious attacks that they were open to from the communists. My doctoral thesis, initially titled “A monetary theory for India”, had to be altered due to paucity of monetary data at the time, as well as the fact India’s problems of political economy and allocation of real resources were more pressing, and so the thesis became “On liberty and economic growth: preface to a philosophy for India”. When no internal examiner could be found, the University of Cambridge, at Hahn’s insistence, showed its greatness by appointing two externals: C. J. Bliss at Oxford and T. W. Hutchison at Birmingham, former students of Hahn and Joan Robinson respectively. My thesis received the most rigorous and fairest imaginable evaluation from them.

I had been attracted to Cambridge partly by its old reputation for philosophy, especially that of Wittgenstein. But I met no worthwhile philosophers there until a few months before I was to leave for the United States in 1980, when I chanced upon the work of Renford Bambrough. Hahn had challenged me with the question, “how are you so sure your value judgements promoting liberty blah-blah are better than those of Chenery and the development economists?” It was a question that led inevitably to ethics and its epistemology — when I chanced upon Bambrough’s work, and that of his philosophical master, John Wisdom, the immense expanse of metaphysics (or ontology) opened up as well. “Then felt I like some watcher of the skies, When a new planet swims into his ken; Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes, He star’d at the Pacific…”

It has taken me more than a quarter century to traverse some of that expanse; when I returned to Britain in 2004 as the Wincott Visiting Professor of Economics at the University of Buckingham, I was very kindly allowed to deliver a public lecture, “Science, Religion, Art and the Necessity of Freedom”, wherein I repaid a few of my debts to the forgotten work of Bambrough and Wisdom — whom I extravagantly compared with the Bodhisattvas of Mahayana Buddhism, also saying that the trio of Wittgenstein, Wisdom and Bambrough were reminiscent of what Socrates, Plato and Aristotle might have been like.

I had written to Bambrough from within Cambridge expressing my delight at finding his works and saying these were immensely important to economics; he had invited me to his weekly discussion groups at St John’s College but I could not attend. Between 1979 and 1989 we corresponded while I worked in America on my application of his and Wisdom’s work to problems in economics. We met only once when I returned to Cambridge from Blacksburg for my doctoral viva voce examination in January 1982. Six years later in 1988 he said of my Philosophy of Economics, “The work is altogether well-written and admirably clear”, and on another occasion he said he was “extremely pleased” at the interest I had taken in his work. The original preface of Philosophy of Economics said he was not responsible for the use I had made of his writings, which I reiterated in the 2004 lecture. At our meeting, he offered to introduce me to Wisdom who had returned to Cambridge from Oregon but I was too scared and declined, something I have always regretted since. It is only in the last few years that I have begun to grasp the immensity of Wisdom’s achievement in comprehending, explaining and extending the work of both Wittgenstein and Freud. His famous “Virginia Lectures” of 1957 were finally published by his admirers with his consent as Proof and Explanation just before his death in 1993. As for Bambrough, I believe he may have been or become the single greatest philosopher since Aristotle; he told me in correspondence there was an unfinished manuscript Principia Metaphysica (the prospectus of which appeared in Philosophy 1964), which unfortunately his family and successors knew nothing about; the fact he died almost in obscurity and was soon forgotten by his University speaks more about the contemporary state of academic philosophy than about him. (Similarly, the fact Hahn, Morishima and like others did not receive the so-called Economics “Nobel” says more about the award than it does about them.)

All I needed in 1980 was time and freedom to develop the contents of this book, and that I found in America — which I could not have done in either Britain or India. It would take eight or nine very strenuous years before the book could be written and published, mostly spent at Virginia Polytechnic Institute (1980-1985) and the University of Hawaii (1986-1990) Economics Departments, with short interludes at Cornell (Fall 1983) and Brigham Young (1985-86). I went to Virginia because James M. Buchanan was there, and he, along with FA Hayek, were whom Hahn decided to write on my behalf. Hayek said he was too old to accept me but wrote me kind and generous letters praising and hence encouraging my inchoate liberal thoughts and arguments. Buchanan was welcoming and I learnt much from him and his colleagues about the realities of public finance and democratic politics, which I quickly applied in my work on India, published in 1984 in London as Pricing, Planning & Politics: A Study of Economic Distortions in India and republished elsewhere here. The visit to the Cornell Economics Department was really so I could talk to Max Black the philosopher, who represented a different line of Wittgenstein’s students, and Max and I became friends until his death in 1988.

Buchanan’s departure from Blacksburg led to a gang of inert “game theorists” to arrive, and I was immediately under attack – one senior man telling me I was free to criticise the “social choice” work of Amartya Sen (since he was Indian too) but I was definitely unfree to do the same of Sen’s mentor, Kenneth Arrow, who was Jewish! (Arrow was infinitely more gracious when he himself responded to my criticism.) On top of that arose a matter of a woman, fresh off the aeroplane from India, being assaulted by a senior professor, and when I stood for her against her assailant, my time in Blacksburg was definitely up.

The manuscript of this book was at the time under contract with University of Chicago Press, and, thanks to Mrs Harry Johnson there, I had come in contact with that great American, Theodore W. Schultz. Schultz, at age 81, told me better to my face what the book was about than I had realised myself, namely, it was about economics as knowledge — its subject-matter was the epistemology of economics. Schultz wrote letters all over America on my behalf (as did Milton Friedman at Stanford and Sidney Alexander of MIT, whom I had also met and become friends with), and I was able to first spend a happy year among the Mormons at Brigham Young, and then end up at the University of Hawaii where I was given responsibility for the main graduate course in macroeconomics. I taught Harry Johnson-level IS-LM theory and Friedman-Tobin macroeconomics and then the new “rational expectations” vs Keynesian material.

I was also offered a large University grant to work on “South Asia”, which led to the books Foundations of India’s Political Economy: Towards an Agenda for the 1990s, and Foundations of Pakistan’s Political Economy: Towards an Agenda for the 1990s, both created by myself and WE James, and which led to the origins of India’s 1991 economic reform and the India-Pakistan peace process as told elsewhere. Also, this book came to be accepted for publication by Routledge, as the first economics book in its famed International Library of Philosophy.

Just as I was set to be evaluated for promotion and tenure at the University of Hawaii, I became the victim of a most vicious racist defamation (and there was some connection with Blacksburg). Quite fed up with the sordidness of American academia as I had experienced it, I sued in the federal court, which consumed much of the next half dozen years as the case worked its way through the United States Supreme Court twice. Milton Friedman and Theodore W. Schultz stood as expert witnesses on my behalf but you would not have known it from the judge’s ruling. There had been not only demonstrable perjury and suborning of perjury by the State of Hawaii’s officers, there was also “after-discovered” evidence of bribery of court-officers in the US District Court for the District of Hawaii, and I had to return to India in 1996 quite exhausted to recuperate from the experience. “Solicitation of counsel, clerks or judges” is “embracery curialis”, recognized as extrinsic fraud and subversion of justice since Jepps 72 E R 924 (1611), “firmly established in English practice long before the foundation” of the USA, Hazel Atlas, 322 US 238 (1943). “Embracery is an offense striking at the very foundation of civil society” says Corpus Juris 20, 496. A court of equity has inherent power to investigate if a judgement has been obtained by fraud, and that is a power to unearth it effectively, since no fraud is more odious than one to subvert justice. Cases include when “by reason of something done by the successful party… there was in fact no adversary trial or decision of the issue in the case. Where the unsuccessful party has been prevented from exhibiting fully his case, by fraud or deception practised on him by his opponent, as…where an attorney fraudulently or without authority assumes to represent a party and connives at his defeat; or where the attorney regularly employed corruptly sells out his client’s interest to the other side ~ these, and similar cases which show that there has never been a real contest in the trial or hearing of the case, are reasons for which a new suit may be sustained to set aside and annul the former judgment or decree, and open the case for a new and a fair hearing….” (Hazel Atlas). There is no time-limit in United States federal law for rectification of fraud on the court of this sort, and I remain fully hopeful today of the working of American justice in the case.

The practical result was that this book was never able to be properly publicized among economists as it would have been had I become Professor of Economics at the University of Hawaii by 1992 as expected. The hardback sold out quickly on its own steam and went into paperback by 1991, and a friend told me it was being used for a course at Yale Law School. The reviews were mostly intelligent. Upon returning to Britain as the Wincott Visiting Professor in 2004, I found times had changed and so had Routledge who would not keep it in print let alone permit a second revised edition. But I am now free to republish the book as I please, and today in 2007, with the Internet growing to a maturity which allows the young geeks at WordPress.com to want to encourage blogging worldwide, I can think of no more apt place to reproduce the first edition of this book than here at my own blog http://www.independentindian.com.

This is not a second or revised edition, and it is unchanged in content except for this lengthy new preface made necessary by the adventures and dramas the book’s author found himself unwittingly part of since its first publication. I am 52 now and happy to say I endorse the book just as I had published it at 34, though I do find it a little impatient and too terse in a few places. The 1991 paperback corrected a few slight errors in the 1989 hardback, and has been used. I am planning an entirely new book which shall have its roots in this one though it will be mostly in philosophy and not economics — the outlines it may take may be seen in the 2004 public lecture I gave on the work of Bambrough and Wisdom mentioned above and published elsewhere; its main aim will be to uncover for new generations the immense worth there is in their work which is in danger of being lost.

At least two names failed to appear in the original list of acknowledgements. G. Bruce Chapman, now of the University of Toronto, and I talked much of serious ethics and political philosophy when I first arrived at Cambridge in 1976. And in 1980 in Blacksburg, Anil Lal, then a graduate student and house-painter, borrowed my copy of Bambrough’s work, read it, and later made a comment on the metaphysics of John Wisdom which allowed me to see things more clearly.

Ballygunge, Kolkata,
April 7 2007

TO: R.A.R.

Contents

Preface

1. Introduction

Part I

2. Hume and the Economists

3. Understanding the Consensus

4. Difficulties with Moral Scepticism

Part II

5. Objectivity and Freedom

6. Expertise and Democracy

Part III

7. An Example from Microeconomics

8. A Dialogue in Macroeconomics

9. Mathematical Economics and Reality

10. Remarks on the Foundations of Welfare Economics

Envoi

Notes and References

Select Bibliography

Preface to First Edition
The publication of this work marks the end of an adventure of more than a decade and a half, most of the writing being done between 17 December 1980 and 22 May 1987. It has been quite perilous at times, especially as a foreigner in the West, and over the years many teachers, colleagues, friends and members of family have contributed to the author’s learning with their thoughts and actions. A number of senior scholars in economics and philosophy — especially Professor Frank Hahn, Professor James Buchanan, Professor Sidney Alexander, Professor Milton Friedman, Professor Max Black, Professor Sidney Alexander, Professor Amartya Sen, Professor Peter Bauer, Professor T. W. Hutchison and Dr C. J. Bliss, have lent their support to the work as it developed, even when they may have not known of its final form, or disagreed with its content, or been themselves a subject of its criticism. Most especially, the work has been honoured in the last six years with the unwavering encouragement of Professor T. W. Schultz of the University of Chicago. And Professor Ted Honderich of University College London has shown it the kindest consideration, without which publication would have been much delayed. Finally, a large philosophical debt will be seen to be owed to the work of Mr. Renford Bambrough of St. John’s College, Cambridge; however he should not be considered responsible for the use that has been made here of his writings.
HONOLULU
15 AUGUST 1988.

1. Introduction

1. IN this book, some of the central philosophical questions facing the modern economist will be raised. Most attention will be given to the question of the appropriate relationship between the positive and the normative, as well as to its parent question of the appropriate scope of objective reasoning in the making of evaluative judgements. Closely related is the question of the appropriate role of the economic expert in society, while slightly more distant questions have to do with the significance of interpersonal comparisons of utility, with the philosophical status of the concepts and theorems of mathematical economics, and with how judgements of probability should be understood. It is this family of questions which will be the concern of the present work.

Economics is a science with potentially important practical bearing upon the lives of men and nations. The state of the modern world may have been affected more profoundly and subtly by the use or misuse of economic knowledge than by many another science. Yet anyone familiar with the intellectual history of the field will know it to have seen more conflicts, and often conflicts of a more destructive kind, than may be reasonably expected or tolerated in the development of a scholarly discipline. The reader will be familiar with the many explicit and implicit divisions of opinion that have occurred upon theories and methods and evidence and policies, which have sometimes torn apart individual university departments and even threatened the integrity of the science itself. Indeed the modern economist in a despondent mood might be inclined to say of the state of his discipline as David Hume once said of philosophy: “There is nothing which is not the subject of debate, and in which men of learning are not of contrary opinions. The most trivial question escapes not our controversy, and in the most momentous we are not able to give any certain decision. Disputes are multiplied, as if everything was uncertain, and they are settled with the utmost warmth, as if everything was certain.”
At the same time as there have been deep and persistent divisions on substantive questions of economic theory and method and evidence and policy, there has been a deliberate or inadvertent consensus about the answer to an important question in the theory of knowledge. Modern economists happen to have been practically unanimous in their opinion on the possible scope of objective reasoning in the making of judgements, and thus in their opinion on the appropriate relationship between the positive and the normative. A broad consensus has developed to the effect that while common reasoning can have some scope in evaluative discussion, it is quite possible in practice and in principle for this scope to become exhausted. At such a point of the exhaustion of reason, only sheer and unadulterated subjective differences will be found to remain between people. Put another way, it has been believed possible for judgements ultimately to become immune to rational question and criticism.

Many of the pioneers of twentieth century economic thought, Kenneth J. Arrow, Milton Friedman, F. A. Hayek, Sir John Hicks, Oskar Lange, Gunnar Myrdal, Lionel Robbins, Joan Robinson, Paul Samuelson, Joseph Schumpeter, Jan Tinbergen, to name but a few, who between themselves would represent all of the main schools of contemporary economics, may be found to have shared such a thesis in the theory of knowledge, differing amongst themselves only upon the relatively minor question of the precise amount of room reasoning should be considered to have: some saying a great amount, others saying almost none, but all agreeing that whatever the exact amount it is a finite amount, both actually and potentially. The theory of demand, the theory of macroeconomic policy, the theory of welfare economics, the theory of social choice — each has in whole or in part rested upon an epistemological premise of this kind. If such a consensus can be shown to have existed, the reader may agree it to be something of a remarkable fact, since it would be difficult indeed to find a single substantive proposition of theory or method or evidence or policy to which a similar measure of consensus among modern economists might obtain.
One of the objects of the present work will be to argue that the fact there have been tremendous disharmonies on substantive economic questions, may not be independent of the fact there has been this kind of harmony in the theory of knowledge among many of the pioneers of twentieth century economics as well as the many more who have followed them. If the epistemological point hitherto accepted as true happens in fact to be false, it becomes possible that the scope of objective reasoning on substantive questions has been artificially prevented from being extended as far as it could have and should have been. Evaluative judgements are clearly of indefinite variety: attitudes towards goods or people, expectations of the future, recommendations to buy or sell, advice to a friend or a student or a government, etc. — roughly, all judgements taken by an individual or social agent about a right or optimal course of action in given circumstances. We shall find the consensus has been that it is possible for reasoning to come to a necessary halt in the process of coming to such judgements, whether the maker of the judgement is a public body or a private individual acting in the capacity of consumer or voter. A large amount (and possibly the whole amount) of what may deserve to be within the domain of common and objective reasoning comes to be placed instead under the rule of subjective will and caprice. Not only must we live with the fact that discussions between citizens or economists or politicians or spouses or states do frequently come to end without resolution, because there happens to be a lack of patience or tolerance or perseverance or good humour or whatever, but also that such outcomes may be written into the script from the start. In any normative discussion, we are to be permitted to call a unilateral halt merely by declaring “Well that is a value judgement of mine” or “That is a personal opinion of mine”, with the implication that any further questioning is out of bounds and unacceptable. Given a theory which allows us in this way to declare as we please what to call objective science and what to call subjective opinion, and given that it may be but human nature to be sceptical of the other fellow’s dogma while being oblivious to one’s own, we may have some explanation of how the consensus among economists in the theory of knowledge may have caused and preserved a state of affairs in which rival substantive dogmas can thrive — because the processes of common reasoning and even communication itself may have been allowed too often to come to a virtual standstill. (Or move at a snail’s pace.) “Disputes are multiplied, as if everything was uncertain, and they are settled with the utmost warmth, as if everything was certain.”

The gist of the present work will be that the present consensus in the theory of economic knowledge is logically inconsistent. It is therefore untenable and deserves to be abandoned. Men can aspire to, and in fact do attain and possess, certain and objective knowledge in an indefinite number of contexts. At the same time, there is no proposition of any kind held by anyone which must be thought of as necessarily closed to further question on grounds of reason or evidence. This simple maxim is something that may be found to hold in any field of human inquiry or endeavour one cares to mention — mathematics or medicine, ethics or physics, history or probability, logic or theology — and it will be our purpose in this work to examine its consequences in the context of economics in particular.

§2. Our study is one in what may be called theory of economic knowledge, and it may be worth a moment to consider what may be meant by this.

Bertrand Russell said of pure mathematics that it was a subject “in which we do not know what we are talking about” — meaning that the pure mathematician does not normally intend to refer in his theorems to substantive factual truths about the world. The epistemology or theory of knowledge of a discipline may be thought of similarly as being not concerned with either affirming or denying, corroborating or refuting the substantive propositions that happen to be made within the discipline. The study of the theory of economic knowledge may be thought of as not making any commitment one way or another to the substantive propositions which are to be found within the department of economics itself. Instead it is a more abstract undertaking, which seeks to examine certain kinds of questions from outside the department in the practical hope of dissolving or at least clarifying the character of substantive questions and controversies that may be occurring within. For example, to ask whether a criterion of truth and falsity can be applied to economic propositions, or whether objective knowledge is possible in the field, or how the kinds of propositions made in economics are to be justified, or how they compare and contrast with propositions made in other departments of inquiry — these would be the kinds of question we might see asked in the theory of economic knowledge; from which too the importance can be seen of generally abstaining from making substantive commitments in the process.

Much of the present work, especially Parts I and II, may be understood to be an attempt to provide a theory of economic knowledge of this kind. Thus the reader will not find in it commitments made to any substantive economic propositions. There is no theorem reported of the existence or efficiency of some new kind of economic equilibrium, no new model or evidence offered of the influence of the supply of money on prices, no new theory of how the expectations of economic agents may be formed or fulfilled or disappointed, no new evidence or explanation of why some country may be experiencing rapid growth or high inflation or increasing unemployment. No new result within economic science; one might almost say, nothing substantive! The present work will offer no more than “a machine to think with” on certain philosophical aspects of economics; it intends to leave economics as it is — and yet in so doing to have shown the way out of some of the philosophical difficulties that are encountered in its study. “For the clarity that we are aiming at is indeed complete clarity. But this simply means that the philosophical problems should completely disappear.”

Yet the practical purpose to making an investigation of this kind may be stated quite readily. For suppose, for sake of argument, we granted the truth of our simple maxim and assumed the epistemological concepts ‘knowledge’ and ‘doubt’, and their allied concepts ‘objectivity’ and ‘freedom’, should not be seen as incompatible in the project of inquiry. What consequences would follow from accepting such a viewpoint? Clearly first of all, we would be placed in a happy position of being able to say that no matter how deep or persistent the actual disagreements between economists or between citizens on economic questions happened to be, there is knowledge to be had in the study of economics. Not just high sophistry or rhetoric or political posturing or the opinions and prejudices of different people — but certain and objective knowledge about those actions, events, and phenomena that are part of the economic context. We would be able to say, in other words, there are at least some propositions in economics which are true, and which moreover can be known to be true.

An important ambiguity is possible here in asking whether there is knowledge about a given matter, insofar as such a question can be taken either as asking whether it is possible for there to be any knowledge about the matter, or as asking whether it is known that someone actually possesses such knowledge and how that has been determined. Defining as an expert someone who has the most reasonable and justifiable answer to give to a question, we need to distinguish, in other words, the relatively cool logical question of whether here can be any such thing as expert knowledge from the more heated political question of who is supposed to be such an expert and how we are supposed to know that. For instance, a question like “Is there a proof to Fermat’s last theorem?” can be understood either in the manner of the pure mathematician, as asking whether there can be a proof to the proposition it is impossible xn + yn = zn for positive integers x, y, z, n, and n > 2; or in the manner of the historian of mathematics, as asking whether any human being has come up with such a proof, as Fermat himself claimed to have done but of which no record exists. Among the great thinkers, Plato is the most influential to have crossed these wires in suggesting it possible not only for there to be objective knowledge about mathematics and ethics and statesmanship, but also for a special and closed set of experts to come to be identified to whom such knowledge should be thought of as being exclusively given. Plato’s theory can be and has been interpreted as giving license to elitism and dictatorship, yet the natural protest which the ideas of these would evoke in most of us may lead to an equal and opposite error of denying the very possibility of knowledge because we feared or wished to reject the idea of being ruled by a closed set of self-described experts. Once these wires are uncrossed, we may see it to be quite possible to maintain there can be objective knowledge and expertise in economics, without making any commitments toward specifying who should be considered an expert on some economic issue, or how we are supposed to determine that, or for that matter claiming any such knowledge or expertise for ourselves.

A second consequence of our simple maxim may seem more troubling. For by its second part, we should also have to say that even while there is objective knowledge in economics, there is nevertheless no proposition in the field which must be thought of as being necessarily closed to further question. Not the proposition that every human act is a rational act, nor the proposition that economic agents continually maximize utility, or are well modelled as doing so, nor the proposition that the market economy cannot be expected to reach full employment and needs to be and can be actively supplemented by macroeconomic policy, nor the proposition that the growth of money is necessary and sufficient for inflation, nor the proposition that free trade will maximize world output given factor immobility, nor the proposition that externalities imply a possible scope for taxes and subsidies, nor the proposition that the histories of nations is a history of class struggle.

By the second part of the maxim, there is no axiom or theorem of economic theory, no finding of economic history, no estimate of the value of an economic coefficient, no prediction of the course of an economic variable, no proposal of economic policy, which must be thought of as being closed to further question. None whatsoever. “No statement is immune to revision” (Quine).

Taken together, then, the net consequence of supposing objectivity and freedom, knowledge and doubt, to be compatible concepts deserving of equal respect, is that we shall be able to chart a course which steers us clear of two perennial and opposing hazards besetting all projects of human inquiry, viz., Scepticism and Dogmatism — the modern origins of which were traced by the American philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce to the cartesian proposal that philosophy “must begin with universal doubt, whereas scholasticism had never questioned fundamentals.” In the pages to follow, we will be denying universal doubt and we shall be free to question fundamentals. In an indefinite number of contexts, there is certain and objective knowledge to be had. Scepticism, understood technically as a logical thesis denying that we can possibly have or know that we have certain knowledge, is therefore a false thesis. At the same time, there is no proposition which is necessarily closed to question. Dogmatism, understood technically as a logical thesis implying there can be or must be some propositions which are absolutely and incorrigibly true, is therefore an equally false thesis. In place of a theory of knowledge restricting the scope of common reasoning to the finite or even the potentially finite, it is possible to have a theory of knowledge extending this scope to the potentially infinite. In particular, while normative proposals in economics or elsewhere may be supposed to be objectively better or worse depending on the soundness of the positive grounds given in their support, there are no unquestionable normative proposals — because there are no unquestionable positive grounds. The simple practical result of making the present investigation is that it will permit a sure and safe course to be found between Scepticism and Dogmatism for any project of economic inquiry.

§3. Would such a simple and straightforward thesis be new to economics in any way? To what extent would the argument which has been summarized above and which will be developed in the chapters to follow not been expressed before? The reader may wish an answer to such a question, and the author presently takes this to be as follows. With respect to the general debate which has occurred about knowledge and scepticism especially in moral philosophy, there will be little if anything in the present work which is a direct or novel contribution to it. While the philosophers have not been concerned with political economy at all, we shall be passive participants to their discussions, listening in to see what can be learned for our purposes and not intending to add to them directly. It may be remembered of course that it has not been long since economics formally broke away from philosophy to become a specialized discipline in its own right, in the belief the concerns of economics are of a more concrete and practical kind than those of philosophy. Since then we have made many highly abstract and theoretical claims, while also becoming scornful of philosophical thinking and believing ourselves to be exempt from its influences. Yet serious philosophical thought constitutes a mature and magnificent conversation which it would be foolish for any serious science to be deaf to. Moreover, it has been quite widely believed that there have been significant advances in philosophical understanding in the present century, and we are responsible to take such a claim seriously. It will be one of the aims of the present work to apply what may be learned from these discussions towards resolving, or at least clarifying, some of the main substantive disputations in modern economic science.

These are two broad traditions of moral philosophy relevant to our subject-matter, one deriving from Aristotle, the other from Hume (and a line of sceptics before him). Even though it would be unwise to expect agreement within either tradition, we may for convenience speak of an aristotelian and a humean tradition respectively. With respect to the discussions among economists on the relationship of the positive to the normative, we shall find an eminent consensus to have appeared on the humean side. This work will declare for the other side, and in so doing shall have to dissent from the humean consensus upon which all of the theory of social choice and much of the theory of welfare economics and theory of economic policy have appeared to rest. As far as is known by the author, there seem to have been but two published dissents on similar lines among economists in recent decades: those of Sidney Alexander and Amartya Sen. Of these, Professor Sen’s dissent has been very short and hesitant, and he would seem to have withdrawn it in other writings. Professor Alexander’s dissent has been clear and vigourous, but unlike his work on the balance of payments, his philosophical work has not received attention, and the present work was mostly developed in complete ignorance of its existence.

By the end of this work however, a clear choice should have been set out for the reader on the question of the relationship of the positive to the normative — between the consequences of accepting the humean consensus among economists and the consequences of the position of Professor Alexander and the author and possibly Professor Sen. The simple maxim “Objective knowledge is possible and yet there is no proposition which is closed to question” should not undermine its own content by being closed to question itself — instead it is supposed to refer and apply to itself as well. It may be true and deserving of our belief but it is not self evidently so, and will have to earn its credentials at the common bar of reason. Ultimately it will have to be the reader’s individual judgement whether it has been successfully shown that, contrary to what has been supposed by many of the pioneers of twentieth century economics, no conflict must arise between knowledge and doubt, objectivity and freedom. The history of the discussion may accord to our side the advantage J. S. Mill had seen to be enjoyed by all minority opinions: if the opinion of one or a few is false then not much will be lost by believing in it, while if it proves better able to stand the tests of time then much may be gained by allowing it to replace error. Put differently, it may seem quite risky that the pioneers of modern economic science have placed all their philosophical eggs in the humean basket — just in case it is Hume himself who happens to be mistaken.

§4. In Part I of the work will be found described the received theory of economic knowledge and its possible justification, as well as an account of the logical difficulties that arise with it. Chapter 2 has the task of documenting as fully as possible the existence of a humean consensus among economists in recent decades. Chapter 3 then examines the kinds of reasons that may incline us to be persuaded to such a view, and which may go to explaining how it has seemed to be an attractive theory to so many economists. These reasons appear to have been of two different but related sorts.

First the concept of value as used in ordinary life and ethics may have become confounded with the concept of economic value or scarcity or rareté in Walras’s term. Where economists have referred to a theory of value, they may have meant to refer more accurately to a theory of relative prices as determined by conditions of scarcity. The advance of the original neoclassicals in the late nineteenth century was to establish the importance of subjective estimations of economic agents to the determination of the relative prices of goods — as opposed to say how much labour went into different production processes as the classical economists might have said, or how much intrinsic value God had placed in the goods as the scholastics might have said. While it is clear by now that such an observation is broadly correct, it would be a mistake to go from a premise that market prices are determined in part by subjective estimations to a conclusion that the relative prices thus determined in any sense establish an order of how goods deserve to be valued or not. Goods are indeed valued the way they are because people happen to value them. Yet equally, in most cases, people seem to value goods in the way they do because the goods deserve to be thus valued — for example, because, like food or clothing or shelter, the goods are conducive to some valuable human purpose.
Secondly, it is possible the consensus has been motivated by a desire to find an effective shield against dogmatism and tyranny. For example, the context of an open parliamentary democracy presupposed by the modern theory of economic policy may have derived out of the experience of the great tyrannies of twentieth century history. There may have been a natural and understandable desire that the choices and decisions of citizens in the capacity of voters or consumers should be treated with the fullest due respect, and a humean scepticism may have been adopted because it has been believed to be something which is necessary and sufficient for this kind of respect to be shown. This would be an outstanding reason for adopting a humean point of view, and one which any critic must be required to account for. Yet it also places in relief the fatal self-contradiction that is present within the humean theory. For example, a theory of economic policy which has to rely upon an assumption of the polity being open and democratic would have to be silent about the conduct of economic policy in societies which were demonstrably not open or democratic, making it a theory very special and contingent in its range of application. Moreover, to give the defence of political or economic or religious freedom as a reason for holding a subjectivist epistemology would be to have left freedom entirely defenceless and toothless from those who would attack it from within precisely the same subjectivist framework. For example, if we conflated a general right to express an opinion freely with an idea that what such an opinion expresses is itself a matter of subjective opinion, then clearly, by the same token, an opinion that opinions should be freely expressed might also be considered merely subjective, and therefore no better or worse than its contrary. Within a subjectivist theory of knowledge, there ultimately can be nothing to choose between freedom and tyranny.

Chapter 4 is a survey of these kinds of logical difficulties with the humean position stated in Chapters 2 and 3. Its main result will be that the anti dogmatic campaign of the humean cannot succeed, and in fact comes to make the Sceptic resemble the Dogmatist more than anything else. It is possible this happens because both Sceptic and Dogmatist are sharing the same deductivist model of justification, to the effect that we cannot know a proposition to be true or right unless we have deduced it as the conclusion of a set of premises of whose truth or rightness we are certain. The Sceptic sees the threat of infinite regress that is implicit in such a model, and then denies we can be certain of anything. The Dogmatist sees the potential regress too, but responds to it by calling a halt at some arbitrary point, denying the need or possibility of going any further. In Part II a fresh picture will be given which attempts to preserve the truths the Sceptic and Dogmatist would each like us to take notice of, while correcting for the distortions both would force upon us by their unequivocal adoption of a deductivist model of justification. Chapter 5 reframes the main philosophical problems of Part I in the terms of the ancient dualism between Nominalism and Realism, and brings to light a possible resolution of this which has been advanced by a number of modern philosophers. Chapter 6 develops the argument further and applies it to the question of the appropriate role of expertise in a democracy. Taken together, Part II contains the main outlines of a fresh theory of economic knowledge with which to replace the flawed and inconsistent theory to which so many economists have thus far subscribed.

Part III of the work consists of a series of diverse illustrations and possible applications of the theory of knowledge developed in Part II. Chapters 7-10 all give examples of how inquiry and criticism can be seen to proceed in economics without sacrifice of either objectivity or freedom. Chapter 7 examines an actual debate on a concrete question of microeconomic policy, which may be compared and contrasted with the more academic examples of later chapters. Chapter 8 examines aspects of the division in macroeconomics and monetary theory since J. M. Keynes’s General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. Chapter 9 considers a question with wide and general reference to economic theory: how the relationship between mathematical economics and real economic phenomena might be best understood. This has been the subject of long and bitter disputation, and some light is attempted to be shed on it from the vantage point of the philosophy of mathematics. It is possible that certain views in the philosophy of mathematics have been presupposed in modern mathematical economics; once these are exposed and aired, some of the conceptual problems which have been faced in this discussion may come to be dissolved. The theory of probability and expected utility and the theory of general equilibrium will be used as brief illustrations. Finally, in Chapter 10, the possible philosophical sources of the controversy surrounding the question of interpersonal comparisons of utility will be described, and a possible resolution suggested. This will be argued to have bearing on received understanding of the foundations of welfare economics.

§5. It will be found in the present work, then, that we shall be denying universal doubt on the one hand, while yet being free to question fundamentals on the other. Such a project will entail a critical examination of the philosophical premises and assumptions advanced by some of the most distinguished contemporary scholars in our field, and it is to be hoped the spirit in which the present criticism is offered will not be misunderstood. Every generation holds a peculiar advantage over preceding generations in having available to it what has gone before, while not being able to anticipate the criticisms of its own beliefs that will certainly come in the future. This kind of advantage that the present holds over the past may be thought of as being quite arbitrary, and we can expect it to carry with it a responsibility of taking what has gone before into serious account. Since no individual is able to do so on his own, we find every generation as a whole attempting to provide itself with critical discussions, which, when integrated over time, constitute the grand and unending conversation we call the history of human thought. It is with such a model in mind of a continuing and self-critical tradition of scholarship that we shall seek to address the questions raised at the beginning about the foundations of economic knowledge, while not making any pretence whatsoever to finality, and instead leaving the entire treatment as open as it can be made to the examination and criticism of others.

PART I

2. Hume and the Economists
THERE has been a broad and long standing consensus among economists about the character of the relationship between positive and normative propositions, as well as about the related question of the appropriate scope and limits of economic expertise in society. Joining in this consensus have been many of the pioneers of twentieth century economic thought: Kenneth J. Arrow, Milton Friedman, F. A. Hayek, Sir John Hicks, Oskar Lange, Gunnar Myrdal, Lionel Robbins, Joan Robinson, Paul A. Samuelson, Joseph Schumpeter, Jan Tinbergen, to name but a few. Many others are likely to be found in explicit or implicit agreement, while a survey by Professor T. W. Hutchison suggests that some of the most renowned figures of nineteenth century economics should probably be included as well. The main purpose of this chapter will be to provide enough documentary evidence to show that such a consensus has in fact existed. When we think of how many deep and wide differences there have been over the years in the field that was once called political economy and is now called economic science, differences on questions of method and theory and evidence and recommendations of policy, the existence of such a consensus may seem quite a remarkable fact.

Very briefly, what appears to have been accepted is that it is possible to identify a body of progressively changing knowledge called ‘positive economics’, which is the main contribution of economists to human knowledge and understanding in general. It consists of such things as the microeconomic and macroeconomic descriptions of present and past states of an economy, conditional predictions of such states in the future, hypothetical or substantive explanations of what economic causes may have what economic effects, the deduction and analysis of theorems of economic significance, and so on. That is to say, positive economics has been supposed to consist of the domain of propositions in an economic context which have to do in one way or another with questions of what is the case, or with what has been the case in the past or may be expected to be the case in the future. In contrast, evaluative or prescriptive or ‘normative’ propositions, having in one way or another to do with what ought to be done or not done by a government or a private economic agent, have been believed to fall into quite a different category. These have been believed to amount sooner or later to being expressions of subjective personal opinion, either on the part of the individual economist himself or of those whom he may happen to be advising.

Most economists who have considered the matter have allowed that there is usually at least some scope, and sometimes much scope, for common reasoning on logical and empirical grounds to be brought to bear in normative discussion; making it possible that at least some of the disagreements between economists or citizens or politicians on normative questions can come to be objectively resolved. But it has been believed possible also for the processes of common reasoning to become exhausted in discussions of normative questions like those of economic policy or ethics or jurisprudence, in a way they are not supposed to become exhausted in discussions of positive questions like those of economic theory or econometrics or natural science or mathematics. Once such a point of the exhaustion of reason has been reached, any residual conflict which remains is to be considered necessarily irreconcilable and of a sheer normative kind. And such sheer normative opinions, upon which it is not possible to bring to bear any further objective consideration, are to be supposed to express the purely subjective attitudes and feelings of the individual person, opinions which might happen to be shared by others too, but which are certainly closed to further argumentation, whether in public or in the person’s own mind. Put a little differently, the theory of knowledge and policy which we shall see to have been widely accepted by many economists in the twentieth century, has made an assumption that while all questions of analysis and evidence can have objectively true or false answers, only some and not all questions of evaluation and prescription can have objectively right or wrong answers.

§2. Underlying the consensus among economists has been a more general thesis in the theory of knowledge or epistemology. It is a thesis which may be called ‘moral scepticism’, and its most brilliant and influential exponent in the modern period has been David Hume (1711-1776). Among those to have advanced influential and persuasive points of view of a similar kind in twentieth century moral and political philosophy have been C. L. Stevenson, R. M. Hare, A. J. Ayer, and Karl Popper.

In the course of a critique of dogmatic religion and ethics, the young Hume was to attack with a sceptical scalpel what he took to be the illogic of trying to deduce evaluation and prescription from analysis and description: “In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with… the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary way of reasoning… when of a sudden I am surpriz’d to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is, however, of the last consequence. For as this ought, or ought not, expresses a new relation or affirmation, ’tis necessary that it shou’d be observ’d and explain’d; and at the same time that a reason should be given, for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it.” While the precise context and implications of this passage continue to divide philosophers, it will be adequate for our present purpose to follow the sympathetic and influential modern interpretation given by the Oxford moral philosopher R. M. Hare, and obtain for an economic context what may be called Hume’s First Law: No normative conclusion, for example, about what a private economic agent or a government ought to do or not do, can be validly deduced from a set of solely positive premises, i.e., from premises which only describe what is the case. No normative conclusion can be deduced without at least one normative premise having been made. A dualism of this kind between the ‘is’ and the ‘ought’ has been frequently supposed to separate science from ethics, the objective from the subjective, the rational from the irrational, public knowledge from private opinion.

Hume was to reinforce this opinion a decade later in a more recondite form of words: “[A]fter every circumstance and every relation is known, the understanding has no further room to operate, nor any object on which it could employ itself. The approbation or blame which then ensues cannot be the work of the judgement, but of the heart; and is not a speculative proposition or affirmation, but an active feeling or sentiment.” This passage too continues to divide philosophers, but for our present purpose R. M. Hare’s recent writing is once more helpful in obtaining a modern interpretation. Hare asks whether, in addition to logical questions and factual questions about how the world is, there can be “irreducibly evaluative or prescriptive questions” as well; once we have “done all we can” by way of reasoning and adducing evidence, “will there remain something to be done which is neither logic nor fact finding but pure evaluation or prescription?” Hare answers yes it is possible, and in the same vein we may restate the idea to obtain for an economic context what may be called Hume’s Second Law: After every empirical question and every logical and mathematical question has been answered in an economic problem, there is no further scope for common reasoning to work. If an evaluative statement is made at such a point, then it can express no more than a subjective attitude or feeling of the individual economist towards the subject.

This is a maxim which does grant that a measure of common reasoning and evidence can be brought to bear upon particular normative questions, and so some normative disagreements may come to be objectively resolved. But it also allows for the potential for such reasoning to become exhausted, leaving merely a subjective residue of personal sentiment or feeling which people might or might not happen to share with one another but which would be beyond further question and discussion. In the pages to follow, a position will be referred to as ‘humean’ if it implicitly or explicitly endorses one or both of Hume’s Laws as stated above. The small h is used to suggest that a close examination of Hume’s works may show him to have been not entirely clear in his own meaning, as well as to suggest that the question of what Hume himself may have actually or fully meant is not of as direct importance for the present purpose as the question of what he has been taken to mean by contemporary economists.

The remainder of this chapter is given to documenting at fair length the fact that a number of the pioneers of twentieth century economics have quite unambiguously seemed to endorse a humean point of view in the theory of knowledge. Chapter 3 will be given to placing this fact in an appropriate historical context. This needs to be done not only in order to understand the nature of the consensus as fully as possible, but also to realize how close economists have been to one another on a central question in the theory of knowledge, even while being engaged in any number of deep and well known and seemingly interminable disputes on substantive matters. The reader who may be impatient with a detailed record of this kind, or who is prepared for the present to take its existence for granted, may wish to move on directly to Chapter 3 without losing the main threads of the argument.

§3. Friedman. Following Neville Keynes, Professor Milton Friedman has clearly and emphatically argued the importance of extending the scope of common reasoning in economics: “Positive economics is in principle independent of any particular ethical position or normative judgments…. [it] is, or can be, an ‘objective’ science, in precisely the same sense as any of the physical sciences…. Normative economics and the art of economics, on the other hand, cannot be independent of positive economics…. differences about economic policy among disinterested citizens derive predominantly from different predictions about the economic consequences of taking action — differences that in principle can be eliminated by the progress of positive economics — rather than from fundamental differences in basic values, differences about which men can ultimately only fight.” It is well known that in this and other works, Friedman has argued for the extension of common reasoning and evidence, or positive economics, as the surest means to resolving normative disputations. Yet from the passage quoted, it is clear that Friedman has also accepted something like Hume’s Second Law, to the effect that while common reasoning can have some and indeed much scope, a point of ultimate and sheer normative disagreement can still be reached, distant though it might be, where reasoning must be considered to have become exhausted and “men can ultimately only fight”. In the same essay, Friedman added that it was the practical importance of economics which impeded objectivity and promoted confusion between “scientific analysis and normative judgment”, suggesting an endorsement of Hume’s First Law as well.

Myrdal. Gunnar Myrdal argued for many years that a number of economic concepts purporting to be analytical or descriptive in character in fact had evaluative or prescriptive overtones. Myrdal and his editor and translator, Professor Paul Streeten, argued that a view that there is no place for normative judgments in economic science has been a guise for the advocacy of a specifically liberal political economy, a thesis which might well be endorsed by many marxian and keynesian economists. While postponing an assessment of this claim to a later chapter, we may note that Myrdal also happened to endorse the extension of the scope of positive economics, with as much emphasis as Friedman would do after him: “By subjecting to impartial criticism those arguments in political controversies which concern the facts and the causal relations between them, economic science can make an important contribution to the political sphere. As often as not, conflicting political opinions spring not so much from divergent valuations about the best possible future state of society and the proper policy for securing it, as from subjectively coloured and therefore distorted beliefs regarding actual social conditions.” Myrdal went on to endorse Hume’s First Law in recommending that the economist leave the supply of evaluative premises to the politician. While the economist can provide descriptions, explanations and conditional predictions, “the scientist must not venture beyond this. If he wishes to go further he needs another set of premises, which is not available to science: an evaluation to guide him in his choice of the effects which are politically desirable and the means permissible for achieving them.” Finally, Myrdal reached the humean conclusion that the normative differences between economists are ultimately beyond objective resolution: “[E]conomic reasoning is often obscured by the fact that normative principles are not introduced explicitly, but in the shape of general ‘concepts’. The discussion is thus shifted from the normative to the logical plane. On the former there is either harmony or conflict; conflict can only be stated, not solved by discussion. On the logical plane we should define our concepts clearly and then operate with them in a logically correct manner. What is ‘correct’ and what ‘false’ can be discussed with the methods of logic, whereas conflicting interests can be recognized, never solved scientifically.”

Robbins. In his influential writings over many years, Lionel Robbins made a distinction between ‘economic science’, having to do with such questions as how best to allocate scarce resources between alternative ends, and ‘political economy’ or normative theories of economic policy, prescribing the ends themselves and the weights to be attached to them. In his well known methodological work we read as clear a statement of Hume’s First Law as might be found in economics: “Propositions involving ‘ought’ are on an entirely different plane from propositions involving ‘is’…. Economics is neutral as between ends. Economics cannot pronounce on the validity of ultimate judgements of value…. Economics deals with ascertainable facts; ethics with values and obligations. The two fields of inquiry are not on the same plane of discourse. Between the generalizations of positive and normative studies there is a logical gulf fixed which no ingenuity can disguise and no juxtaposition in space or time can bridge over.” Robbins’s endorsement of the Second Law was equally emphatic. While positive economics extends the scope of common reasoning, it is still possible to find normative differences which are rationally irresoluble: “If we disagree about ends it is a case of thy blood or mine — or live and let live according to the importance of the difference or the relative strength of our opponents. But if we disagree on means, then scientific analysis can often help us to resolve our differences. If we disagree about the morality of the taking of interest (and we understand what we are talking about), then there is no room for argument.”
Samuelson. Professor Paul Samuelson has seemed to feel a tension in the humean position, but also that its logic compelled him to follow closely in Robbins’s path: “It is fashionable for the modern economist to insist that ethical value judgments have no place in scientific analysis. Professor Robbins in particular has insisted upon this point, and today it is customary to make a distinction between the pure analysis of Robbins qua economist and his propaganda, condemnations and policy recommendations qua citizen. In practice, if pushed to extremes, this somewhat schizophrenic rule becomes difficult to adhere to, and it leads to rather tedious cicumlocutions. But in essence Robbins is undoubtedly correct. Wishful thinking is a powerful deterrent of good analysis and description, and ethical conclusions cannot be verified in the same way that scientific hypotheses are inferred or verified.”

Hicks. Like Samuelson, Professor Sir John Hicks has seemed to feel a tension in the humean position, yet he too must be considered as having endorsed at least an important version of it. On the one hand, Hicks has seemed critical of mid-century positivism and emotivism, and claimed the main rationale of the “new welfare economics” to be that it allowed a route of escape from them. “During the nineteenth century, it was generally considered to be the business of an economist, not only to explain the economic world as it is and as it has been, not only to make prognostications (so far as he was able) about the future course of economic events, but also to lay down principles of economic policy, to say what policies are likely to be conducive to social welfare, and what policies are likely to lead to waste and impoverishment.” Since then positivism had declared that explanation and only explanation may be part of scientific economics, and any move to prescribe “must depend upon the scale of social values held by the particular investigator. Such conclusions can possess no validity for anyone who lives outside the circle in which these values find acceptance. Positive economics can be, and ought to be, the same for all men; one’s welfare economics will inevitably be different according as one is a liberal or a socialist, a nationalist or an internationalist, a christian or a pagan.” But such a position is “rather a dreadful thing to have to accept”, one which might “become an excuse for the shirking of live issues, very conducive to the euthanasia of our science.” Fortunately we are not compelled to accept it, since the new welfare economics advanced by Kaldor, Hotelling and Hicks himself was a viable alternative, not open to the objections the positivists had raised to the utilitarianism of Pigou and others.

Yet we may ask, what had the new welfare economics been about? And did it in fact make a break with the positivism which seemed to be troubling Hicks, or had it not been prompted precisely by humean doubts? As is well known, the new welfare economics had to do with questions such as whether the potential gainers from a change in policy could possibly compensate the potential losers from the change by enough so as to get them to go along with it, or conversely for the losers from a change to compensate the gainers from the change by enough so as to get them to go along without it, and so on. As Hicks himself makes clear, it was a discussion very much motivated by the belief that while the Pareto criterion was not a wholly adequate substitute for the utilitarianism of Pigou, any emendation of the paretian theory must leave untouched its basic positivistic premise, viz., that interpersonal comparisons cannot be conceived of as anything but purely subjective judgements, outside the scope of objective reasoning. Hicks claimed it was because the new welfare economics avoided making interpersonal comparisons that it should be considered a positive advance, a scientific advance. And Hicks has emphasized that he, like Robbins, has not wanted any truck with interpersonal comparisons. The old welfare economics of Pigou required one “to admit the possibility of comparing the satisfactions derived from their wealth by different individuals. This is where Professor Robbins parts company; for my part, I go with him.” More recently: “A single individual… shows by his choices that he prefers one thing to another; we may put this, if we like, in the form of saying that he derives (or thinks he derives) greater satisfaction from the one than from the other. But there is no similar way in which we can see that the satisfaction derived by one individual from one good is greater than the satisfaction derived by another individual from another good; these satisfactions are not compared in any actual choice, so that for the comparison between them there is not the same evidence.”
While we shall be returning to these questions in Chapter 10, what we may note here is that since interpersonal comparisons certainly amount to being a particular species of evaluative judgement, Hicks’s scepticism with respect to the possibility of making them objectively must be considered to amount to an endorsement of at least a species of moral scepticism. If so, it would seem to sit uncomfortably with Hicks’s opinion that he had not cared much for the positivist dichotomy between explanatory science and subjective prescriptions, which was said to have prompted the search for the new welfare economics in the first place.

Robinson. Writing on the theory of employment, Joan Robinson was to give a superbly clear account of the humean position at its best, which requires no commentary: “[All economic] controversies should be capable of resolution. The rules of logic and the laws of evidence are the same for everyone, and in the nature of the case there can be nothing to dispute about. Controversies arise for five main reasons. First, they occur when the two parties fail to understand each other. Here patience and toleration should provide a cure. Second, controversies occur in which one (or both) of the parties have made an error of logic. Here the spectators at least should be able to decide on which side reason lies. Third, two parties may be making, unwittingly, different assumptions, and each maintaining something which is correct on the appropriate assumptions…. Here the remedy is to discover the assumptions and to set each argument out in a manner which makes clear that it is not inconsistent with the other. Fourth, there may not be sufficient evidence to settle a question of fact conclusively one way or the other. Here the remedy is for each party to preserve an open mind and to assist in the search for further evidence. Fifth, there may be differences of opinion as to what is a desirable state of affairs. Here no resolution is possible, since judgements of ultimate values cannot be settled by any purely intellectual process…. argument in the nature of the case can make no difference to ultimate judgements based on interest or moral feeling. The ideal is to set out all the arguments fairly on their merits, and agree to differ about ultimate values. On questions of policy, the differences can never be resolved.”

Hayek. Professor F. A. Hayek has stated an unambiguous commitment to Hume’s First Law, as when he wrote recently: “Our starting point must be the logical truism that from premises containing only statements about cause and effect, we can derive no conclusions about what ought to be.” In his earlier discussion of the economics of socialism, Hayek had hinted at the Second Law as well, saying that “problems of ethics, or rather of individual judgements of value… [are]… ones on which different people might agree or disagree, but on which no reasoned arguments would be possible.” If the questions about socialist planning are ethical by this definition then “no scientist, least of all the economist” would have anything to say about them. Positive argument presumes there to be some common values between the participants: “Meaningful discussion about public affairs is clearly possible only with persons with whom we share at least some values. I doubt if we could even fully understand what someone says if we had no values whatever in common with him. This means, however, that in practically any discussion it will be in principle possible to show that some of the policies one person advocates are inconsistent or irreconcilable with some other beliefs he holds.” In particular, the argument over socialist planning should be seen to be one on positive grounds: “[E]veryone desires, of course, that we should handle our common problems as rationally as possible and that, in so doing, we should use as much foresight as we can command. In this sense, everybody who is not a complete fatalist is a planner, every political act is (or ought to be) an act of planning, and there can be differences only between good and bad, between wise and foresighted and foolish and shortsighted planning. An economist, whose whole task is to study how men actually do and how they might plan their affairs is the last person who could object to planning in this general sense.” The dispute between socialists and their critics is “not a dispute about whether planning is to be done or not. It is a dispute as to whether planning is to be done centrally, by one authority for the whole economic system, or is to be divided among many individuals.”

Lange. Oskar Lange, the famous adversary of Hayek and Robbins on the question of socialist planning, was agreed with them that the only task within the scope of scientific economics was the determination of the best means, with economic ends having been decided politically. He gave this infelicitous analogy to the economist’s role: “The situation may be compared with that of two physicians treating a patient. There is no necessity of interpersonal agreement about the objective of the treatment. One physician may want to heal the patient, the other may want to kill him (e.g., the patient may be a Jew in a Nazi concentration camp; one physician may be a fellow prisoner who wants to help him, the other may be a Nazi acting under orders to exterminate Jews). But once the objective is set for the purposes under discussion (either of the two physicians may, of course, refuse to act upon it), their statements as to whether a given treatment is conducive to the end under consideration have interpersonal validity. Any disagreement between them can be settled by appeal to fact and to the rules of scientific procedure.”

Schumpeter. In discussing the wertfrei controversy between Carl Menger and the German historical school, Joseph Schumpeter was to suggest that the epistemological matters involved were neither difficult nor interesting and could be disposed of shortly. The distinction between ‘is’ and ‘ought’ had been correctly and adequately drawn already, so it only needed to be accepted that an ‘ought’ statement “that is to say, a precept or advice, can for our purpose be reduced to a statement about preference or ‘desirability’.” Schumpeter went on to endorse Hume’s First Law, saying that an acceptance of one value judgement always requires the acceptance of others. This “is of little moment when the ‘ultimate’ value judgments to which we are led up as we go on asking why an individual evaluates as he does, are common to all normal men in our cultural environment.” Unlike Lange, Schumpeter gave the physician as a negative analogy: “[T]here is no harm in the physician’s contention that the advice he gives follows from scientific premises, because the — strictly speaking extra-scientific — value judgment involved is common to all normal men in our cultural environment. We all mean pretty much the same thing when we speak of health and find it desirable to enjoy good health. But we do not mean the same thing when we speak of the Common Good, simply because we hopelessly differ in those cultural visions with reference to which the common good has to be defined in any particular case.” I.e., common reasoning can proceed in normative discussion but only so long as we find common values among “all normal men in our cultural environment”, which is to suggest reasoning may be helpless with abnormal men or those who are outside our cultural environment. Further, siding with Menger, Schumpeter suggested that the bitterness of the wertfrei controversy could be explained because it had been not so much a logical dispute as one between those who were practising and those who were protesting a kind of scholarly deceit, viz., the propagation of personal dogmas within an ostensible pursuit of objective knowledge: “Those who profess to be engaged in the task of widening, deepening, and ‘tooling’ humanity’s stock of knowledge and who claim the privilege that civilized societies are in the habit of granting to the votaries of this particular pursuit, fail to fulfil their contract if, in the sheltering garb of the scientist, they devote themselves to what really is a kind of political propaganda.”

Arrow. In opening his famous paper on the theory of social choice, Professor Kenneth J. Arrow was to refer explicitly to the ancient ontological dualism between Nominalism and Realism. To take aggregate rankings of “social states” as independent of individual rankings “is to assume, with traditional social philosophy of the Platonic realist variety, that there exists an objective social good defined independently of individual desires. This social good, it was frequently held, could be best apprehended by the methods of philosophic inquiry. Such a philosophy could be and was used to justify government by elite, secular or religious, although the connection is not a necessary one. To the nominalist temperament of the modern period the assumption of the existence of the social ideal in some Platonic realm of being was meaningless.” Nineteenth century utilitarianism had “sought instead to ground the social good on the good of individuals”, which, when combined with a hedonistic psychology, implied “each individual’s good was identical with his desires” and “the social good was in some sense to be a composite of the desires of individuals.” Such a view “serves as a justification of both political democracy and laissez faire economics, or at least an economic system involving free choice of goods by consumers and of occupations by workers.”
While Arrow found it necessary to remark that a connection between elitist rule and a Realist ontology was “not a necessary one”, he did not also remark upon whether he took a connection between democratic rule and a Nominalist ontology to be logically necessary. If not, then we might of course entertain other cases equally well, such as Nominalism being associated with elitist rule, or Realism with democratic rule, or perhaps more subtle cases which may arise from a denial of the dualism altogether — matters to which we shall return more explicitly in Part II. In any case, it would seem evident Arrow’s sympathy has been with the humean thesis, which he endorses strongly in suggesting, like Schumpeter, that no distinction can be made between a personal preference and a judgement of value: “One might want to reserve the term ‘values’ for a specially elevated or noble set of choices. Perhaps choices in general might be referred to as ‘tastes’. We do not ordinarily think of the preference for additional bread over additional beer as being a value worthy of philosophical inquiry. I believe, though, that the distinction cannot be made logically, and certainly not in dealing with the single isolated individual. If there is any distinction between values and tastes it must lie in the realm of interpersonal relations.” That Arrow believes normative questions to be only personally and subjectively answerable is further suggested by his remarks that “[t]he only rational defense of what may be termed a liberal position… is that it is itself a value judgment”; that his own values are such he is willing “to go very far indeed in the direction of respect for the means by which others choose to derive their satisfactions”; that he personally shares “a strongly affirmed egalitarianism, to be departed from only when it is in the interest of all to do so”; that he is personally “in favor of very wide toleration”; and so on. In Chapters 9 and 10, we shall return to examine certain aspects of the theories of general equilibrium and social choice which Professor Arrow has helped pioneer.

Blaug. In his influential writings in the history and methodology of economics, Professor Mark Blaug has appealed directly to Hume, declaring that the “orthodox Weberian position on wertfrei social science is essentially a matter of logic: as David Hume taught us, ‘you can’t deduce ought from is’.” Blaug grants that scientific practice does continually call for the exercise of judgement, but he wishes to distinguish “methodological” judgements, having to do with such questions as “the levels of statistical significance, selection of data, assessment of their reliability, and adherence to the canons of formal logic”, from “normative” or “appraising” judgements, which “refer to evaluative assertions about states of the world, including the desirability of certain kinds of behavior and the social outcomes that are produced by that behavior; thus all statements of the ‘good society’ are appraising value judgments.” It is judgements of this latter sort which are “incapable of being eliminated in positive science”. In support of such a dualism Blaug claims “there are long established, well tried methods for reconciling different methodological judgments” but none “for reconciling different normative value judgments — other than political elections and shooting it out at the barricades.” Blaug’s acceptance of Hume’s Second Law is as explicit as may be found in contemporary economics. There sometimes can be rational discussion over normative differences “and that is all to the good because there is a firmer tradition for settling disputes about facts than for settling disputes about values. It is only when we distill a pure value judgment… that we have exhausted the possibilities of rational analysis and discussion.” Echoing Robbins, Blaug suggests that at such a terminal point we are left with “factual statements and pure value judgments between which there is indeed an irreconcilable gulf on anyone’s interpretation.” Like Arrow, Blaug also makes reference to an ontological division between Realism (or “essentialism”) and Nominalism, and hints at a necessary link between a Realist ontology and dogmatism and tyranny. From Plato and Aristotle up through the nineteenth century, Western thought had been under the malign and mistaken impression that “it is the aim of science to discover the true nature or essence of things”. Such a view “raises its ugly head” even today, and Blaug charges the authors of a recent marxian thesis as being one such recent manifestation: “Adherents of essentialism are inclined to settle substantive questions by reaching for a dictionary of their own making, and Hollis and Nell exemplify this tendency to perfection: reproduction is the ‘essence’ of economic systems because we tell you so!”

Hahn. Professor Frank Hahn reports that contemporary economists “in keeping with the Positivist perspective” make “a thorough distinction of ‘is’ from ‘ought’ (positive from normative).” While Hahn has been mostly guarded in his own opinion as to the precise relationship between positive and normative, he has suggested recently that while normative questions are subject to reasonable argument, and economic theory is intended to widen this scope of common reasoning, “the intention is to take a small step in distilling what are genuinely questions of values.” Such a remark would seem to place Hahn among the moderate humeans like Joan Robinson and Milton Friedman — which in turn would make it an interesting fact that while Hahn has had long and well known disputes on substantive matters with both Friedman and Robinson, he would appear closely agreed with them on a point in the theory of knowledge, viz., that while there is much room for objective discussion to take place, it is possible for sheer differences of a normative kind to exist and come to be identified.

A few others. To take some final examples, Professor Robert Sugden affirms “Hume’s Law reflects a liberal view of the universe”; Professor William Baumol and Professor Allan Blinder write in their textbook that the economist defines rational decisions as those “that are most effective in helping the decision maker achieve his own objectives, whatever they may be”; Professor James Quirk writes in his textbook that “normative economics is based on a system of axioms, but these axioms concern ethics” and because these and any propositions derived from them are not “verifiable through empirical observation”, a person is “free to accept or reject the conclusions of normative economics as he wishes, simply by accepting or rejecting the axiom system — there are no scientific issues involved.” And Professor Jack Hirschleifer wrote in his textbook that “if one economist prefers Maoism and another capitalism, or if one prefers to exterminate and the other to tolerate an inconvenient minority group, the fundamental sources of contention are almost surely divergences in ethical values… [which] will not be eliminated by advances in scientific economics.”

3. Understanding the Consensus
THE great German philosopher and mathematician Gottlob Frege suggested at one place that we should not “ask for the meaning of a word in isolation, but only in the context of a proposition.” In the same vein, it may be said the meaning of a proposition or a hypothesis should not be asked for except in relation to the particular context in which it has been advanced. And we can maintain this without requiring the description of such a context to be fully explicit or even one which can be easily expressed in words. A proposition needs to be understood in relation to the fullest possible description of its implicit and explicit context — which may be a good sense too in which to understand the reference by Wittgenstein to the concept of a “language game” .

In the previous chapter, we have marshalled considerable evidence for our initial thesis that there has been a broad measure of consensus among many of the pioneers of modern economics about the appropriate relationship of the positive to the normative. Irrespective of their many and well known substantive differences, they have seemed all to share an affinity with a humean thesis of moral scepticism, whether in a radical way like Schumpeter and Professor Arrow when they say there can be no difference in kind between personal preferences and value judgements, or in a more moderate way like Joan Robinson and Professor Friedman and Professor Hahn, when they say there can be a great amount of room for objective argumentation to take place about normative questions before a naked and irreconcilable difference will be found to appear. The first question that needs now to be addressed is how this consensus should be understood, and this will require as full a description as can be attempted in this work of the context in which it has occurred. The second question would be whether or not the consensus is correct and justified — whether or not there are firm and adequate grounds for us to think we should join it, and so take the is ought dualism to be a barrier which it is neither possible nor necessary to surmount. The reader will have known from the Introduction that it is a main purpose of this study to make the argument that such grounds are not in fact available, that a humean position is ultimately untenable and misleading, and deserves to give way to a theory of economic knowledge and policy which treated objectivity and freedom as compatible concepts deserving of equal respect. Nevertheless we are first obliged to identify the strengths and motivations of a humean point of view, if only so that we might explain how it has come to command the kind of assent it has done among many of the most eminent of twentieth century economists as well as the many more who have followed them. When expressed as thoroughly as it has been by some, a humean point of view is certainly a respectable and recondite one to hold in the theory of knowledge; there seems nothing obvious that is wrong with it; to the contrary, it may seem foolhardy to try to refute it or even place its merits under scrutiny. In other words, a well thought-out moral scepticism deserves the respect of its critics, and any difficulties with it may be expected to be of a relatively subtle and not self evident kind.
The purpose of this chapter will be then to give as full a description as possible of the historical and political context — of the “language game” or the civilization — within which it is possible for the humean consensus in modern economics to be understood. The economists quoted in Chapter 2 do not appear to have attempted such descriptions themselves, and may even have assumed a humean point of view on the positive and normative to be self-evidently justified, for little thought seems to have been given as to why we should want to endorse it. Thus it will be fair to caution the reader that while a possible justification and explanation of a humean point of view will be given here, it will be one which has been constructed by a critic. Furthermore, the discussion will refer first to a more distant and then a more proximate context, and the discussion of the former will have to be speculative and greatly simplified — a mere thumbnail sketch of an actual drama of indefinite proportions.

§2. The adoption of moral scepticism in twentieth century economics may be most briefly explained as having been motivated by a genuine desire to shield against dogmatism and tyranny, whether in political, economic, scientific, or religious contexts. As scientist and scholar, the economist has been naturally concerned to extend the scope of common reasoning, as well as to protect the objectivity of the findings of his science from the imposition of personal or political dogma. Equally, it has been felt that the choices of the individual agent who is studied by economists, whether as consumer or voter, deserve to be treated with the fullest respect. A humean scepticism may have been adopted because it has been believed to be necessary and possibly sufficient for this kind of respect to be shown to the results of popular choice, whether in parliament, the market place, or in private life. This is summarized in for instance Sugden’s remark “Hume’s Law reflects a liberal view of the universe”, as well as in Schumpeter’s suggestion that the wertfrei controversy had been merely one between those who practised and those who protested a kind of scholarly deceit, namely, the propagation of personal dogma in the guise of a pursuit of knowledge. In other words, someone might become a moral sceptic because he wishes to defend, and wishes perhaps to be seen as defending, the freedom of the individual person to form and hold his or her own normative beliefs, as well as the objectivity of science from being compromised by the forced imposition of the beliefs of any one or a few people. In particular, the modern humean economist is likely to wish to contrast his theory as sharply as possible with the famous theory given by Plato, both directly with the political philosophy which is to be found in Plato’s writings, as well as indirectly, with the medieval scholasticism which came to be deeply influenced by the rediscovered works of Plato and Aristotle and to which the origins of modern economic and political thought can be traced.

Now the question of whether there is any objective knowledge in a field of inquiry is open to be understood either as asking whether there possibly can be any knowledge in the field, or as asking who should be thought of as possessing such knowledge and how they may have been identified. The first of these senses can be thought of as epistemological and the second as political in character. In Republic, Plato offered answers to both questions with respect to the knowledge of the statesman, and the answers he gave were yes — not only is it logically possible for there to be objective knowledge of use to the statesman, but it is practically possible to identify certain men and women in society as actually possessing or being considered fit to possess such knowledge. It is these special people who are the only true lovers of wisdom in society, and since we surely should want the policies of a state in which we lived to be the wisest and most prudent possible, informed by the best available knowledge, it appears to follow at once that what needs to be done is unite knowledge with authority and make these special people our guardians and rulers.

Plato’s ideal city-state is a place where individual freedom is conspicuous by its absence. Its rulers are to be imagined as being about as perfect rulers as there can be: the single and genuine source of all true wisdom and justice, and deserving therefore to be granted absolute authority on all significant questions of private and political conduct, including the right to suppress dissent, since any dissent would be misguided by definition. This is not to say the philosopher-kings would be entitled to a life of luxury or even ordinary comforts. To the contrary, since those who deserve to be philosopher-kings may well be disinclined to seek power and privilege for themselves in the normal course of politics, they may have to be first discovered and then forcibly drafted to take the office which rightfully should be theirs. In preparation for the serious business of piloting the ship of state, they will be placed in seclusion and rigourously educated in such disciplines as aesthetics and gymnastics and mathematics and music, their lives certainly without any of the signs of corruption that we would frequently associate with the exercise of power. At the end of the tenure of one generation of such rulers, they will be retired and replaced by a new generation, bred and educated through a similar and careful programme of eugenics and training in the arts and sciences of statesmanship. Finding actual examples of such extraordinary beings may be quite impossible; perhaps some appropriate mixture of the Dalai Lama, Gandhi, Attaturk and Mozart’s Sarastro might help our modern imagination.
A number of modern political thinkers have roundly condemned Plato for having written a theory hostile to democratic political institutions, and even for having provided the blueprints for the tyrannies of modern history. Yet while there is no question that Plato was no friend of democracy, or at least of the kind of democracy which had brought about the judicial murder of his friend and teacher Socrates, a fair-minded reader of Republic is unlikely to find in it any justification of tyranny at all. If we were to define tyranny in the way Plato and his contemporaries would have done as the rule of the ignorant and capricious, it would be a state of affairs Plato found abhorrent, the complete antithesis of his own ideal of a full union between knowledge and authority, of rule by the genuinely wise and the genuinely good; even the faulted system of democracy would be preferable to it. Moreover, Plato was to discuss at length the dynamics of how even his ideal city-state would be likely to degenerate into a tyranny; and besides, his single attempt to put theory into practice ended in pathetic failure, when he accepted an invitation to train a fatuous prince, who was incapable of and soon became bored with the rigorous education Plato had in mind for him, and who eventually became the worst of tyrants, much to Plato’s disgust. In fact Kant, the modern lover of freedom, was led to come to the defence of Plato, the ancient authoritarian, precisely because the logical possibility of a utopia is suggested to the reader of Republic — a state of affairs in which everyone is a genuine lover of wisdom, everyone a philosopher-king, and therefore all external government made redundant. Republic is a masterpiece of philosophy and mathematics and literature and political economy as well, and it would be a mistake to suppose its author to have been so inexperienced of human nature and society as to provide it as a textbook for grand or petty tyrannies, whether of his own time or of ours.

What is true however what is true is that the theological culture of medieval Europe would come to be deeply influenced by the rediscovered works of Plato and Aristotle, with which a synthesis of medieval Christianity was sought to be made. And it may also be fair to say that regardless of Plato’s intentions, Republic came to provide something of a model for the tyrannies to be experienced in subsequent European history.
Social and economic life in medieval Europe is marked by a four-fold division of society into the nobility, the clergy, free artisans and tradesmen self governed within a system of guilds and corporations, and the peasantry. The medieval church is seen as an eternal institution representing divine will on earth, deserving to be endowed with final and absolute authority on all significant questions of right conduct, somewhat perhaps in the manner of Plato’s philosopher-kings. Specific duties and rights belong to the members of different occupations, and it is within one’s calling that one is expected to lead one’s life in accordance with the divine law as interpreted by the church and the natural law as discovered by the temporal authorities. In particular, there is a notion that economic activities may be licit or illicit in nature, and since the general moral question of what ought to be done is closely identified with whether there is the sanction of the church for it to be done, whether a particular economic activity is to be approved of or not comes to depend on whether or not it has such a sanction. There is an idea too of economic goods having a ‘true’ or ‘intrinsic’ or ‘natural’ value endowed in them by God — an idea which will become perhaps a precursor of the labour theory of value of classical economics in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Determining this intrinsic value establishes the ‘just’ price of a good or service, i.e., the price at which it ought to be traded, even if the actual market price as determined by the subjective estimates and actions of traders happens to contingently differ from this. There is a related concept of ‘equivalence’ in transactions, with a suggestion that one party to a trade can gain from it only at the expense of the other. Merchants and middlemen thus come to be treated with some disdain, since it does not seem apparent they are adding anything to the intrinsic values of goods, making the just price of their services seem hard to determine. Indeed the unabashed pursuit of wealth by anyone is probably the object of some considerable social and religious disapproval. Similar thinking may underlie the condemnation of usury, since, given a premise of money having no intrinsic worth, what is perceived to be the lending out of money should seem to have a just price of nought.

The common medieval culture and economy was to be transformed drastically though differently across Europe between the fourteenth and eighteenth centuries. The sea routes are discovered, nation states emerge competing with one another in trade and war, the age of modern science begins, a long and rapid succession of scientific discoveries and technological inventions takes place, there is a vast expansion of commerce and population and the settlement of European colonies in other continents. Accompanying these transformations in some places are intellectual rebellions against the medieval church, and almost everywhere in Europe a decline in the influence of formal faith. The assertion of individual will and conscience as the principal guides of human conduct is a challenge directed at church doctrine and dogma; but given that the medieval concept of reasoning is one of reason ultimately bounded by the doctrines and dogmas of faith, the assertion of a subjective individual will may have been assumed to amount to being a challenge to the full possibilities of objective reasoning itself.

In this new mercantilist age, the pursuit of material gain must come to be freed of the sanction of the church, and once more, since right and wrong are closely identified with such sanction and prohibition, a declaration of the independence of economic activity from the sanction of the church amounts virtually to a declaration of its independence from ethics as well. In particular, the medieval notion of ‘equivalence’ in the intrinsic value of goods in a transaction is transformed with the aid of mechanistic analogies at hand into a concept of ‘equilibrium’ in trade, such that each party to a trade is conceived of as gaining from it as an individual and continuing to transact until the prospect of such gain has come to be exhausted. It is understandable perhaps that England and Holland will be in the vanguard of the mercantilist revolution, given their theological distance from Rome as well as their growing commercial interests and naval power. Nor does it seem obviously foolish, at least in the early mercantilist years, for the wealth of a nation to be identified with its ability to export and its holdings of precious metals, when the circumstances of the time make it a first priority of the business of government to have liquid payment available for navies and armies. In France there comes to be the liberal protest of the physiocrats against the iniquities upon the peasantry, a protest which serves to rehabilitate a more secular version of the natural law of the scholastics. But the calls of men like Quesnay and Turgot for reform are too late, and the system of physiocracy is itself swept away with the onset of the French Revolution.

Adam Smith however has admired and learned from the physiocrats, while observing at first hand the dismal effects of a staling British mercantilism. This he rises to condemn in The Wealth of Nations, thereby starting an intellectual revolution of his own, ringing in a new century of free enterprise and imperial expansion, and establishing the concern of the economist with the workings of individual interest and the market economy which continues to this day. Forty years later it is David Ricardo who introduces to political economy the practice of an abstract hypothetical method, by which it is a body of abstract and general principles that the economist’s speculations and ratiocinations are intended to discover, detached from the rush of concrete economic realities. And Ricardo and his immediate followers exemplify the application of the new method to a main subject of Smith’s preoccupation, namely, the workings of individual self interest and the market economy.

In the musty passage-ways of Victorian thought, the new methods of abstraction in political economy must have been felt to be as invigorating as fresh air. Jevons, Walras, Menger and the other original neoclassicals firmly insist upon making the plain and simple observation that in the case of many and perhaps most goods, the prime determinant of relative value is not how much labour went into the different production processes, nor how much intrinsic value God might have placed in the goods, but rather the subjective estimations of economic agents in the market place. The victory seems complete. Out of the medieval notion of the scope of reasoning being limited by the dictates of doctrine and dogma, is eventually born the neoclassicals’ notion of the concept of value as fully and exactly synonymous with the concept of scarcity or market value, or rareté in Walras’s term. Economists are seemingly freed to speak of ‘a theory of value’ when meaning to refer more specifically to a theory of scarcity-determined relative prices, determined by conditions of supply and demand in the marketplace. From an idea that something is or is not a good only and merely because the church happens to say so, the wheel comes full circle to an idea that something is or is not a good only and merely because of the price it happens to command in the marketplace. The moral absolutism of the platonist and the scholastic gives way to the moral scepticism of the humean, and we reach the threshold of the modern period of economics in the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

§3. Briefly then, the development of the kind of sceptical and subjectivist point of view represented by Hume and the humean economists may be seen as the democratic reaction which occurs to medieval and platonist authoritarianism. And in parallel with these democratic developments occurring in the marketplace and economic thought, there occurs between the medieval and the modern period an emancipation of the political mind as well. No more will it be for clergy and aristocracy to dictate divine and temporal laws respectively. Men are born equal — which is to say there are not grounds ex ante why one human being should be supposed to deserve more or less authority or dignity than another merely in virtue of his or her humanity. The political process must reflect this new emancipation, and displace the hierarchies of the past with the equalitarian notion that every man’s vote should count the same, and the most popular choice be established to rule.

The modern institutional context of a parliamentary democracy, bound by formal or informal constitutional principles and precedents, may be roughly sketched somewhat as follows. From among the body of citizens, some will choose to run for elected office. While reasonable restrictions may be placed on who can so choose (e.g., they must be adult nationals) any citizen normally will be free to be a candidate. Before a vote is conducted, a reasonable time will be allowed for candidates to put their respective cases to the public. There will be some constitutional rule, like first-past-the-post or proportional representation, agreed upon more or less unanimously in advance of the vote, which will map how the actual balloting will induce particular outcomes as to the composition of the parliament. The individual voter casts his or her ballot, reflecting some private mixture of interest, prejudice, caprice or good sense about the common welfare. The rule is applied, and the largest coalition of winning candidates come to constitute the new government, with smaller coalitions constituting the loyal opposition. Once elected, a government will be expected prima facie to carry out the agenda it had proposed to the public before the election and not something different. What it actually does will be the subject of constant scrutiny and criticism by the opposition, the press, and the public at large, but the laws finally enacted will have jurisdiction over all. After a certain maximum time, elections must be held again and the process repeated, with an incoming government either maintaining or changing the policies of its predecessor in large or small measure. The system may be considered indirectly democratic insofar as that at any given time citizens shall have given themselves, via their elected representatives, the policies and laws under which they are themselves to live.

While a government would be expected to implement the agenda chosen indirectly in this way by the public, it will be expected also to elicit expert advice upon the best means to be employed towards achieving the chosen ends. Yet the expert must be appropriately humbled, brought down from the high altar where Plato had placed him to being the modest and self-effacing servant of the popular will. The scientist in government is to take as given the ends of his political masters, under a presumption that these reflect the democratic choice and any interference or criticism would be impertinent. More generally, the competence of the expert in a democratic society is not to extend to questioning the uses to which his expertise may be put. Thus Popper was to write: “No amount of physics will tell a scientist that it is the right thing for him to construct a plough, or an aeroplane, or an atomic bomb. Ends must be adopted by him, or given to him; and what he does qua scientist is only to construct means by which these ends can be realised.” Or as Myrdal put it in the passage quoted in the previous chapter, the expert must not go beyond advising on the means, for he would otherwise require premises of a normative kind which have not been given to science, but which are to be presumed available instead to the elected politican. And Robbins wrote of how economists ought not to judge the ends to which economics is put, indeed that ultimately “there is no room for argument” about ends, but rather how the quintessence of economics is the study of the optimal allocation of scarce resources between competing ends. It is only the question of the best or optimal means towards such an allocation that is within the scope of rational inquiry, and therefore within the competence of the economist qua scientist; it is not for the economist to question the ends given to him by the representatives of the public.

Now the widespread view since that there is a unique and quintessential economic problem, and that in particular it is the problem of the allocation of scarce resources between competing ends, is of course one initially advanced in the course of the neoclassical revolution. As Marshall put it: “if a person has a thing which he can put to several uses, he will distribute it among these uses in such a way that it has the same marginal utility in all. For if it had a greater marginal utility in one use than another, he would gain by taking some of it from the second use, and applying it to the first.” The housewife must decide how much yarn should be put to making socks and how much to making vests so “as to contribute as much as possible to family well-being”; she will have allocated the yarn efficiently if the marginal increase in family well-being is the same whether she puts the last ball of yarn to making an extra pair of socks or to making an extra vest. In modern terms, the problem is one of constrained maximization in which a concave objective function is to be maximized subject to a number of linear or non-linear constraints. We might imagine, for example, a hospital administrator who must allocate fixed quantities of various resources at his disposal like medical staff, beds, dressings, and so on, between a number of alternative outputs which have to be produced in different hospital wards, with the aim of maximizing an objective function containing these outputs as concave arguments. The objective function itself, that is, the relative weights which should be given to the various outputs, is not ultimately for the administrator to decide, but rather to be taken by him as a parameter from an appropriate authority. If the necessary conditions for a maximum are met, an optimal allocation would be one in which (a) the ratio of marginal increases in the objective function from marginal increases in the output of any two goods equalled the implicit shadow prices of their technologies; and (b) the marginal increase in the objective function from increased use of a resource in any two production activities would be the same and equalled the shadow price of the particular resource. Thus the marginal hour of a nurse’s skills would be equally well applied whether in assisting mothers in labour or in providing aid in the Emergency Room. Similarly, a humean view of the expertise of economists would be one in which the economist did not question the social objective function but rather takes as his task the statement and solution of the formal problem of the allocation of scarce resources between the defined ends.

With the necessary change of detail, the same has been required in the influential theory of macroeconomic policy advanced by Professor Jan Tinbergen and his principal expounder, Professor Henri Theil. In this theory, normative premises are seen as being given to the expert economist by a representative of the political process, for instance “the Minister of Finance or Economic Affairs, who is interested in the employment level of his country and its balance of payments”. Such a person is assumed to know the set of variables relevant to determining the present state of the economy, which are divided into those whose values can be changed (“instruments”) and those whose values cannot be changed (“targets”), with a change in the value of an instrument being defined as a “policy measure”. The expert economist is called upon to specify as best as possible the structural relations between targets, instruments, and exogenous disturbances, and predict as best as possible the future course of the targets under alternative assumptions about the instruments. As Theil put it, the policy-maker is to receive from his forecasters “conditional expectations about the time-patterns of non-controlled variables, the conditions being alternative measures to be taken by himself in the present and the future.” Alternative futures of the economic model are then to be evaluated one against the other by means of a social utility function decided upon by the policy-maker. Its arguments could be a pair of macroeconomic ills such as inflation and unemployment implying the function should be minimized, or a pair of microeconomic goods like efficiency and equity implying the function should be maximized subject to the relevant constraints, with the relative weights given to the ends presumed to be reflecting the democratic mandate. An optimal vector of targets is determined which yields the least possible social disutility or the highest possible social utility; the values of the instruments which would result in this optimal vector are calculated, and changes from the present values of these instruments to these optimal values define the optimal set of policy measures to be taken.
Such briefly was the kind of theory of economic policy Tinbergen put forward in the early years after the Second World War. It was soon to have much influence among macroeconomists, especially in the United States. Fairly or not to both Keynes and Tinbergen, the models themselves came to be called “Keynesian”, yet their influence has been significant enough that contemporary critics of Keynes and Tinbergen have described their method and purpose in similar terms. For keynesians and their critics, the macroeconomist principally has a positive role, extending the scope of reasoning and discussion on logical and empirical grounds as far as he is able to. He assumes a constitutional democracy, and takes for granted that the normative premises of the policy-maker reflect the popular will.

§4. Drawing together, then, the main threads of this highly simplified and summary discussion, it may be possible to explain the adoption by twentieth century economists of a humean theory of knowledge by the widespread belief that such a theory provides a necessary and even a sufficient defence against dogmatism and tyranny. It is part of the democratic reaction to medieval authoritarianism. The modern civilization which has adopted the moral scepticism of Hume is one born out of the great medieval civilizations which had been influenced by the authoritarianism of Plato. And just as Plato’s theory was affected by his disgust with the doings of the democracy of his time, so it may be the theory of knowledge which has come to be adopted by as eminent and diverse economists as Robbins and Friedman and Samuelson and Hicks and Robinson and Myrdal and Arrow and Hayek and Lange and Tinbergen and Hahn and Schumpeter, and the many others who have followed them, has been conditioned in part by their disgust with the tyrannies and ideologies of twentieth century history, and their desire to protect from these both the objectivity of economic science as well as the individual in his capacity of consumer and voter.

The question arises however, whether, in making their escape from Plato, the pioneers of twentieth century economic thought have not become entranced by Hume.

4. Difficulties with Moral Scepticism

We have now a description of some of the main features of the theory of economic knowledge most widely accepted in the twentieth century, and we have seen also how its plausibility and influence may be explained by placing it in appropriate historical and political context. In this chapter we shall examine some of the main difficulties and paradoxes which happen to arise with this theory. These have been serious in their implications, and the more general problems from which they derive have been well known to many contemporary philosophers, yet they do not appear to have been given adequate notice by modern economists.
Briefly, the difficulties are two-fold.
First, if the justification of adopting a humean theory of knowledge by contemporary economists is to be what we have taken it to be, viz., that such a theory and only such a theory can provide an adequate bulwark for science and the individual against tyranny and dogmatism, then we clearly have the makings of an internal contradiction on our hands — since what is patently a moral purpose would have been advanced within a theory of knowledge whose ostensible aim was to deny the possibility of moral knowledge! In a theory in which all moral propositions are taken ultimately to be statements of mere personal opinion, the defence of the freedom of the individual or of the integrity of science must also be taken ultimately to be matters of mere personal opinion, and the declared or undeclared purpose of protecting freedom by adopting moral scepticism would have been internally defeated by that very scepticism itself.
Secondly, we shall find that sceptical attacks just as powerful as Hume’s attack on the possibility of moral knowledge can be made upon the possibility of knowledge in a number of non-moral contexts as well. Hume himself is responsible for one such attack when he raised his famous doubts about the possibility of induction, and analogous attacks can be made in diverse other contexts such as those of science, history, mathematics, or psychology. The result of recognizing these new possibilities for scepticism is to make evident that an acceptance of moral scepticism on its own may force a choice between either sliding into total scepticism, the position of believing there is ultimately nothing whatsoever that can be objectively known, or forsaking parity of reasoning, and denying that what may be sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander. Either the possibilities of mathematical knowledge and scientific knowledge and historical knowledge all come to be denied ultimately because we wish in a consistent way to deny the possibility of moral knowledge, or one sort of knowledge is accepted and another sort rejected when there are reasons to think they must stand or fall together. Either all of positive economics is attacked with just as much scepticism as anything in normative economics, or we accept one and reject the other when instead there are reasons to think they share the same ultimate grounds and must be accepted or rejected together.
Such will be the main hazards we shall find on the humean course taken in the theory of knowledge by the economists quoted in Chapter 2. Their precise locations however are subtle and quite well hidden, so if we are to avoid them we must move here as carefully and precisely as possible.

§2. Let us recall at the outset Hume’s First Law as saying to the effect that a normative conclusion cannot be validly deduced from solely positive premises; that a normative conclusion cannot be deduced without at least one normative premise being made. Faced with a normative proposition then, a moral sceptic will ask to see the set of prior positive and normative premises from which it is to derive. To take a simple example, if you were to say “I think the government should reduce the rate of growth of the money supplym from 6% to 3%”, a moral sceptic may ask “Could you say why you think so, since your proposition is plainly normative and cannot have derived from a set of solely positive premises?” (We can suppose this not to be meant rhetorically, that some opinion like “What a stupid idea!” is not being surreptitiously introduced in the guise of asking a question, but rather that a genuine inquiry is being made to be told the grounds that may go to support the proposal.) If you were to reply “Well the government should try to reduce the rate of inflationp , it is necessary and/or sufficient to reducem in order to reducep , that is why I think the government should reducem ,” it would remain open for the sceptic to respond “Certainly I can agree if your premises are true then your conclusion follows. But your premises once more are not solely positive ones, including as they do one that is plainly normative. Could you now say why you think the government should try to reducep in the first place?”
It is not difficult to imagine a fair reply being given to this as well, such as perhaps “Well inflation has been rampant and the election was fought and won on a promise inflation would be curbed, election promises should be attempted to be kept, that is why the government should make a determined attempt to reducep .” But in practice the economist would typically and rightly allow such discussion to fade into the background — since an important and difficult task would already have been defined for him, which is to ask whether it is likely a reduction inm by the stated amount will succeed in reducingp , assuming that the government should be trying to do this in the first place. Trying to answer it will require abiding by the practices of language and logic and scientific method; but the question itself is a positive and not a normative one insofar as it asks what is the case, or what has been the case or is likely to be the case, and the desire to keep it distinct for analytical convenience from the explicitly normative may be understandable. The modern economist is one of many kinds of expert in civil society, and as such is expected to have some special theoretical or practical knowledge not possessed by the non-economist. And economists everywhere are in fact being called upon to evaluate whether or not a dam or a highway should be built, a budget balanced or unbalanced, a bond released or redeemed, a tax or a tariff levied or lifted; to judge whether the argument of a government or a colleague or a student or a critic is valid, substantiated, compelling, sound, cogent. In any such investigation, it may well be useful for purposes of clarity and analytical convenience to work with a dualism between the ‘is’ and the ‘ought’, the descriptive and the prescriptive — just as it is commonly useful to work with a dualism between an analytical sense of ‘is’ as in “two plus two is four”, and a descriptive sense of ‘is’ as in “the cat is on the mat”.
Yet from saying it may be useful to make working dualisms between what is possible and what is actual or between what is the case and what ought to be done, it does not follow there are any absolute or ineradicable lines to be drawn. Taking a set of normative premises as given and from there proceeding to extend the scope of positive reasoning would not imply the normative premises are unquestionable — only that they are not now in question, not presently in question. It is as if they have been temporarily taken out of the game while we attempted to see how far we may proceed without them. They can still be brought back and others taken out — indeed, in the game of inquiry, we might even wonder if there needs to be any proposition which must be so privileged as never to be benched, so indispensable that we must fear the whole project will collapse without it.

§3. We may recall next Hume’s Second Law to the effect that while it may be possible to bring to bear objective reasoning in some normative discussions, a point of sheer and unadulterated difference over ‘basic’ or ‘ultimate’ values can nevertheless come to be reached. The moderate humean may allow for much room for common reasoning to take place, but he takes the further step of supposing such reasoning to have a limit, a finite limit. In any normative discussion, it is eventually possible for the scope of objective reasoning to become exhausted and a difference of a sheer normative kind to come to be identified. While it is clear the economists quoted in Chapter 2 have meant to refer to a limit of this sort being reached, it is strictly speaking not clear if they have meant to refer to such a limit being reached just as a contingent matter of fact — in actual arguments and discussions — or whether they have meant to refer to such a limit being possible in principle as well. In other words, whether it is merely intended to be an empirical possibility that a disagreement will come to end without resolution, or whether it is also intended for this to be the logically necessary outcome. If a residue of disagreement remains after the processes of common reasoning have been allowed to work, is this residue to consist of differences which just happen to be closed to further discussion in a particular case, say because the discussants lack patience or good humour or tolerance or perseverance or whatever, or is it supposed to consist of sheer and naked differences over ‘basic’ values which must be thought of as necessarily beyond the scope of further discussion?
If it is the first interpretation alone which has been intended, then only a fairly small claim would have been made, which may need to be clarified and fully set out but which would not need to be disputed by someone wishing to attribute a greater scope to reason than does the moral sceptic. For it is quite evident that actual arguments and discussions frequently do come to end without full resolution — those between physicists, mathematicians, biologists, doctors or engineers no less perhaps than those between politicans, economists, writers, historians, spouses, or nation states. Yet an observation of this sort of the frequency or intensity of disagreement would not be directly relevant to the theory of knowledge, insofar as the fact an argument happens to stop where it does, does not bear upon whether a question in dispute is capable of having a true or a right answer. It is possible for the true or right answer to a question not to be available to those who happen to be discussing it, or even to others in their generation or those in later generations; that there can be an objectively true or right answer to a question is a different question from whether it has been found or will be found today or tomorrow or next year. What the answers happen to be to the questions raised by Darwin or Freud or Keynes is a different question from what they themselves might have thought the answers to be, or what their contemporary state of opinion happened to think the answers to be, or what the state of opinion in our own time or in some future time happens to think the answers to be. It is of course natural to want to know the true or right answer to a question, to know whether the answer which we think is true or right is true or right, and certainly we should be surprised and find it incongruent if someone said he or she believed something even while knowing it was not true, or approved of something even while knowing it was not right — we normally want to know what is true and what is right and make our beliefs congruent with it. In other words, we may distinguish the actual and contingent history of inquiry and conflict from the logic of inquiry and conflict.
Moreover, some concepts and propositions will be found to form a context or a background in any disagreement, being understood by both sides and being unnecessary to be made explicit. If we were discussing the monetary history of the United States in the 1980s for example, we would take for granted such facts as that the United States was not at war or civil war or in the throes of any major social convulsion during this time; assumptions which may not have formed the implicit background if we were instead discussing the monetary history of the 1960s or the 1860s. Not every feature of a description may be relevant to a particular question at hand nor must it be made explicit. And an observation of this kind may be made of any dispute in economics, once it has been carefully and thoroughly characterized, whether on method or theory or evidence or policy, in microeconomics or macroeconomics, whether between mathematical economist and applied economist, or keynesian and quantity theorist, or marxian and mainstream. Some aspects of any description will be implicitly understood or taken for granted by the participants in a discussion.
More strictly, it has been argued by the Cambridge philosopher Renford Bambrough that it is necessary for the participants in a discussion to be in at least some agreement before they can be even said to be in any disagreement at all: “You and I cannot be known to be in conflict unless it is possible to identify a proposition that I assert with a proposition that you deny; no such proposition can be identified unless there is some expression that you and I use in the same way; if we use an expression in the same way then we regard the same steps as relevant to determining the truth or falsehood of what is expressed by it; for a disagreement about what is relevant is or involves a disagreement about what the dispute is that we are engaged in, and when such a case of cross-purposes is resolved it resolves itself either into agreement or into a disagreement to which all these conditions again apply.” In other words, it must be either that the participants in a dispute are giving different answers to the same question or that they are giving answers to different questions. If the first, we have identified a genuine case of disagreement; if the second, we have what is strictly speaking not a genuine disagreement at all but a case of cross-purposes, where each is giving a different answer to the question as to what the question they are disagreeing over happens to be. The English literary critic F. R. Leavis suggested at one place that critical inquiry proceeds as if one person declares to another “This is so, isn’t it?”, and the other replies “Yes, but…”. When A declares “This is so, isn’t it?” he has invited both the challenge and collaboration of others. B’s yes in reply would indicate a certain agreement, while his “but…” would indicate the agreement was not total, that there perhaps is some case or circumstance to which what A has said will be found not to apply. In effect, the “but…” amounts to being a fresh “This is so, isn’t it?”, inviting in turn the collaboration and challenge of A, and so on. Applying such a scheme to our example of a simple debate over economic policy, we would obtain an abstract form of the following sort:
A : n1.
B : Why n1?
A : Given n2, p1 implies n1.
B : Granted (p1), but why n2?
A : Given n3, p2 implies n2.
B : Granted (p1, p2), but why n3?
A : Given n4, p3 implies n3.
B : Granted (p1, p2, p3), but why n4?
A can think B to be stupid or stubborn or self-seeking, and B can think the same of A, and neither or one or both of them may be partly or wholly correct in thinking so, and all these may be facts which go to explaining how their dispute actually happens to proceed or fail to proceed over time — yet the correct answer, the most reasonable and justifiable answer, to the question to which different answers may be given at any stage will be independent of all this. We should want to distinguish, in short, questions of the logic of thought from questions in the history of thought.
Thus if someone becomes persuaded to a moderate moral scepticism only through observing that as a matter of fact many normative disputations seem heated or interminable, then we need only to demonstrate that such an observation does not and should not be allowed to bear upon the theory of knowledge or epistemology we come to hold. Certainly the scope of objective reasoning may be found to be finite in practice in actual disagreements and disputations between people, because there happens to be a lack of patience or good humour or tolerance or perseverance or whatever. But from that it does not follow at all that there is no further room for discussion, or indeed that reasoning cannot be thought of as being of potentially indefinite scope.
If however, as seems equally likely, the economists who have endorsed a humean theory of knowledge have meant it to be possible not only in practice but also in principle for the scope of objective reasoning to become exhausted, then a much more serious claim would have been made, which deserves appropriately more rigorous scrutiny. It would then have been claimed that it is logically possible for A and B to be in total and justifiable agreement about all the empirical evidence and about every logical relation, and still for each to declare in favour of a sheer and contradictory ‘ultimate’ value.
B : Granted (p1, p2, p3,…, pω-2); but why nω-1?
A : Given nω, pω-1 implies nω-1.
B : Granted (p1, p2, p3,…, pω-2, pω-1); but why nω ?
A : nω that’s why! (Go jump in the lake if you don’t accept it too.)
B : I deny nω that’s all! (And it’s you who can jump in the lake.)
Not only in practice but also in principle the scope of common reasoning would be supposed to have a finite limit. Not only is it a handicap we have to live with that many disputes between economists or scientists or citizens or spouses or nation-states do come to halt without full and justifiable resolution, through lack of patience or tolerance or good humour or whatever, but it is inevitable that common reasoning will become exhausted and only sheer and unadulterated differences remain over ‘basic’ or ‘ultimate’ values over which only the irrational holds sway. Hume and Hare among philosophers certainly may be interpreted to have taken such a view, and, on the basis of the writings quoted in Chapter 2, it would not be unfair to interpret at least some of the economists to have meant the same. However no proof or example of the existence of a sheer dispute over ‘basic’ or ‘ultimate’ values between people who are in justifiable agreement over everything else, has ever been offered by Hume or any philosopher or economist after him. It seems merely to have been asserted or taken for granted that a point can come where the scope of reason must have become exhausted and nothing further could remain to be said or done.

§4. We are in position to have a clear sighting at last of the first major hazard which is present on the humean course: It is possible that the declared purpose of the humean economist of extending objectivity and thwarting dogmatism will be contradicted by an ultimate adoption of irrationality and personal dogmatism. Huge and invaluable edifices of inquiry and argument can crumble to the ground because the scope of reasoning must sooner or later become exhausted, and mere personal prejudice take its place. The presence of a single ‘ought’ would signal the presence of another, and then another, and another… until some set of private moral primes or absolutes or supreme principles are supposed to be reached, which others might or might not share but which are in any event beyond further question. According to the received theory of knowledge, the economist is ultimately able only to persuade or coax or cajole or perhaps bribe others into accepting the absolutes he may himself wish to endorse, but common reasoning is of no further avail. Sooner or later the advice of the expert economist cannot but express the personal dogmas and prejudices of the adviser (or those of his employer).
It was a tension of this kind in the humean doctrine that Professor Samuelson may have felt when he called it a “somewhat schizophrenic rule” even as he endorsed it in the passage quoted in Chapter 2. Yet while Samuelson was not afraid to describe the role of the economist in society that follows from the humean thesis, he did not see the paradox to which it leads. Following Robbins and in keeping with the modern theory of economic policy, Samuelson said we should keep distinct the economist qua scientist from the economist qua citizen. The former expresses objective knowledge (“pure analysis”), the latter expresses subjective opinions (“propaganda, condemnations and policy recommendations”). Thus when Professor Samuelson himself writes from his offices at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, we must take him to be doing so qua rational, objective, scientific economist, while if the very same person writes from his home qua citizen of the United States, we must take him to be expressing a subjective and possibly irrational personal point of view. Or must Samuelson expect himself to sign and stamp everything he writes either as being a claim to objective knowledge made by the eminent economist which he is and deserving the world’s attention, or as being a subjective and possibly irrational opinion expressed by the ordinary citizen and human being which he also is, and perhaps not deserving nearly as much of the world’s attention? What would happen if the same human being came to say the same thing in both scientific and civic capacities? Clearly we would be in a quandary of having to decide whether it should be considered objective or subjective, public knowledge or private opinion, rational or irrational, economic science or personal prejudice. In the previous chapter we have seen that the humean economist is likely to want to sharply contrast his theory of the role of economic expertise from the famous theory given by Plato in Republic. Now we are able to see that there seems to be a less well known similarity too between the moral scepticism of the humean and the moral absolutism of the platonist. For just as in Plato’s theory so in the modern humean theory, there is evidently no way of telling from within the theory who is supposed to be the expert. Either the humean has to join the platonist whom he takes to be his enemy and declare there to be some arbitrary and unspecified way of distinguishing expert from layman, philosopher from commoner. Or the humean has to part company with Plato and the scholastics, and say that there is ultimately no objective distinction possible between knowledge and opinion, expert and layman, science and prejudice. What appears to be at stake when the merits of the humean epistemology are brought under critical scrutiny in this way, therefore, is nothing less than whether there ultimately can be objective knowledge in economics; and so, whether or not the economist can rightly consider himself to be a seeker after such knowledge — or whether we are all involved merely in some highly evolved and sophisticated branch of rhetoric, having “the semblance of wisdom without the reality” whose teacher and practitioner is just “one who makes money from an apparent but unreal wisdom.”

§5. The problem we are observing here with the received theory of economic knowledge can be placed in relief by comparing the moderate moral sceptic with his more radical cousin, the emotivist. For the emotivist is one who flatly denies there to be any scope at all for common reasoning to occur upon normative questions, maintaining instead that normative propositions amount only to being the expressions of personal feeling or emotive attitude. Thus a statement like “the government should reducem from 6% to 3%” would be taken by the emotivist to express merely the personal feelings or preferences of the individual, its full meaning and implications being equally well described if the speaker had said “I wish the government would reducem from 6% to 3%”, just as someone might say “I wish to have my coffee black” or “I do not like boiled vegetables” or “I like to wear colourful shirts”.
Now the feelings and emotions and attitudes of a speaker or author may be naturally and normally involved in the making of evaluative or prescriptive statements, in a way they may not be in the making of logical or empirical statements. When I propose something should be done I must mean what I say, or I would not be being sincere, what I outwardly expressed would be incongruent with what I inwardly felt, I would be engaged in a kind of self-contradiction or inner dissonance. Yet this sort of involvement of matters of personal sincerity and authenticity in the making of normative judgements does not imply these are all that is involved, or even the most important of what is involved, or that common reasoning cannot make headway in normative discussion. The emotivist correctly observes the involvement of the emotions in normative discussion but exaggerates its significance, perhaps by the confounding of simple and literal uses of concepts like “taste” and “preference” as in “I have a taste for ice-cream” or “I prefer my vegetables lightly cooked” with looser and more metaphorical and so more complex uses of the same concepts like “I prefer Truman to Dewey” or “I have no taste for public executions”. Where the moderate moral sceptic supposes a residue of irrational difference to remain after every relevant empirical and logical question has been answered, the emotivist wants to call a halt the instant a normative proposition is sighted. The difference is one of degree and not of kind. If a moderate moral sceptic like R. M. Hare or Milton Friedman or Joan Robinson remonstrated with the emotivist saying “Look you really should try to bring to bear as much logic and evidence as you possibly can in a normative dispute”, the emotivist has only to coolly reply “Sorry, but what you have just said is patently normative. Since, as you know, I take all normative propositions to amount to being expressions of personal taste or emotive attitude, I cannot take what you have said to be anything more than that either. That does not mean I cannot share the same emotive attitude as you, but that is no reason to think we can construct an objective justification for it.” The humean can bang his head in frustration at the emotivist’s behaviour, but he may not without circularity argue against it.
A more dramatic illustration of this sort of difficulty with the humean doctrine may be found in the writings of Hare and Popper, suggesting that even the most tough-minded and critical of moral sceptics may have allowed themselves to admit an ultimate irrationalism. Hare considers a fanatic who so fervently believes some group of innocent people should be put to death that he is prepared to be made such a victim himself if his own ancestors transpired to be of the same group. And the fanatic is closed to all further discussion of the matter. This, Hare takes it, would be a case of an ultimate value judgement, impervious both in practice and in principle to further question. Hare says that “fortunately” there are few fanatics who would be found to hold such an “extreme” position, leaving unsaid that if they were found then they should be just as entitled to their opinion as anyone else — not merely in the sense of having a legal right to hold such an opinion but in the more significant sense that such an opinion ultimately must be considered to be just as good, just as reasonable, just as cogent, just as sound, as its contrary. We could try to persuade or cajole or bribe our fanatic to give up his opinion and to hold ours, but there is no way for us to say he is simply wrong in his belief. If it turned out there were more fanatics than there were of us, it could of course become their turn to persuade or cajole or bribe us away from our opinions, yet none of their acts could be condemned, since, in the last analysis, there cannot be any such thing as moral knowledge.
Popper has written frankly that he knows of no rational grounds for recommending a rational temperament: “It is impossible to determine ends scientifically. There is no scientific way of choosing between two ends. Some people, for example, love and venerate violence. For them a life without violence would be shallow and trivial. Many others, of whom I am one, hate violence. This is a quarrel about ends. It cannot be decided by science…. you cannot, by means of argument, convert those who suspect all argument, and who prefer violent decisions to rational decisions. You cannot prove to them that they are wrong….” “I frankly confess that I choose rationalism because I hate violence, and I do not deceive myself into believing that this hatred has any rational grounds. Or to put it another way, my rationalism is not self-contained, but rests on an irrational faith in the attitude of reasonableness. I do not see that we can go beyond this.” But if Popper is entitled to have an irrational faith in being reasonable, then the fanatic is surely entitled as well to have an irrational faith in being unreasonable. Thus Professor Max Black responds on behalf of the fanatic who engages Popper thus: “Bravo! You hate violence, but I hate argument (a sneaking use of force by other means). You call me irrational, but I glory in that title. Like you, I hold that there are no ultimate reasons for my irrationality (for that would detract from the purity of my position). The difference between us is like that between a Protestant and a Catholic: your faith is my heresy; my faith is your heresy. That’s all there is to say.” (Yet Black himself does not say why differences between protestant and catholic must be supposed beyond discussion!)

§6. This kind of internal contradiction we are observing here to be associated with moral scepticism can be seen in a slightly more positive light as well. For we may ask, what does the moral sceptic’s recognition that dogma and tyranny should not be imposed upon science or the individual amount to being except a manifest example of a moral recognition? Or a proposal that the integrity of science as well as the freedom of the individual as consumer and voter should be preserved, except a manifest example of a moral proposal? All the economists quoted in Chapter 2 have recommended and practised the extension of the scope of common reasoning in economic science; what sort of recommendation would that be except a patently moral recommendation? When the theory of economic policy requires the economist to respect the ends of the elected politician, what sort of a premise does that rest upon except a moral premise that the institutions of constitutional democracy should be respected and not abused? It would presuppose in turn such things as that parliamentary elections do take place periodically and are in fact genuine and not fraudulent elections, that citizens will be judicious and well enough informed in their voting so that a good indication of what things are conducive to the common welfare will come to be determined as closely as possible given the size and diversity of the electorate, that the policies of a resulting administration are sincere attempts to reflect the ends chosen by the voters, that candidates for elected office and private citizens and scientists and scholars and others are not subject to being shot or jailed or persecuted for saying publicly what they think these ends should or should not be, and so on. It is implicitly or explicitly within the context of a free and open society, and one which probably has working democratic institutions, that the modern theory of economic policy makes sense at all, that positive questions like “Does the evidence support the hypothesis that reducingm from 6% to 3% is necessary and/or sufficient to reducep ?” are supposed to be discussed in the first place. Regardless of what the humean economist happens to say or suppose himself to be doing or not doing by adopting the theory of knowledge which he does, we are entitled to conclude that he is in fact far from asserting there cannot be any such thing as objective moral knowledge — since he himself may have advanced his moral scepticism precisely upon substantive moral grounds. Put differently, it does not seem possible without contradiction to start with a set of moral premises and arrive at a conclusion that there cannot be moral knowledge.
Equally, if the received theory of economic policy must presuppose a context of a free and open society and working democratic institutions, then it would seem it must be silent where such a context cannot be presumed. When we consider that most societies most of the time probably have not been very open or very democratic (and in such a count we must consider societies not only on the scale of nation-states but also families and clubs and corporations and university departments and armies and religions, and so on) this would at once make the received theory one of quite special and contingent application. Indeed it is a theory which must be silent about the appropriate role of the expert not only under conditions of tyranny (Solzhenitsyn: “The prison doctor was the interrogator’s and executioner’s right-hand man. The beaten prisoner would come to on the floor only to hear the doctor’s voice: ‘You can continue, the pulse is normal'” ); but also where the duly elected government of an open and democratic society proceeded to do things patently wrong or tyrannical (the imprisonment of the Japanese Americans). Hence Popper’s “paradox of democracy” and “tyranny of the majority”. It is ironic that the economist who may have adopted a humean epistemology as a reaction to dogmatism and tyranny in the first place, will come to be prevented by his own moral scepticism from condemning an act of tyranny whether it is committed in the name of the popular will or by an outright despotism. A theory of economic policy which both assumes a free and open society and bases itself upon a moral scepticism cannot have anything to say ultimately about the objective reasons why a free and open society may be preferred to an unfree or closed society, or about the good or bad outcomes that may be produced by the working of democratic processes.
A parallel difficulty arises for the humean economist with respect to market institutions and their possible outcomes. Ultimately, the received theory of economic knowledge cannot allow that there may be objective reasons why market institutions may be preferable (or not preferable) to non-market ones, whether one is speaking roughly and generally in a theory of political economy or more precisely and specifically about some actual set of concrete circumstances. Just as the medieval scholastics might have said that a good was a good only because the church said it was a good, so the modern humeans may have to say that a good is a good only because market forces have made it a good — i.e., because it happens to have a positive price in an equilibrium of supply and demand. And just as the church may have said a lot of things were goods which were indeed good, so market forces make a lot of things goods which indeed are good — for instance, like food, clothing and shelter, because they are conducive to some valuable human purpose. But also, just as there could have been things which the church said were good but were not, and things which were good but which the church said were not, so it is not at all hard for any of us to find in experience things which the market may have put a high value on but which were not in fact valuable, as well as things which the market did not value but which were indeed valuable.

§7. Drawing these simple threads together then, a first set of reasons why the modern economist may think himself poorly served by a subjectivist theory of knowledge has to do with the fact that it is a theory which falters and fails even in its own declared purpose of being an adequate shield against dogmatism and tyranny. In a theory in which nothing, ultimately, can be considered objectively right, it cannot be objectively right to extend the scope of reasoning in economics, or to preserve the integrity of science, or to protect the individual from dogmatism or tyranny. In a theory in which nothing, ultimately, can be considered objectively wrong, it cannot be wrong to block or subvert reason or to force dogma and tyranny upon science or the individual. If all moral propositions are ultimately taken to be matters of mere personal opinion, then the defence of individual freedom or the integrity of science also must be taken ultimately to be matters of mere personal opinion. Professor Arrow remarks: “The only rational defense of a liberal position… is that it is itself a value judgment.” Combine with this the idea that judgements are subjective, and you would have the result that no objective justification can be given ultimately for a liberal position, or for any other position either for that matter. When all has been said and done, protecting individual freedom is no better or worse than attacking it, preserving the integrity of science is no better or worse than destroying it. “Nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” Such fragile things as the preservation of human freedom and the integrity of science would seem to have been left exposed by the accepted epistemology in twentieth century economics to the shifting whims of popular opinion. The purposes that many eminent economists may have had in adopting the humean thesis, and these may have been invaluable purposes, would seem to be able to be fulfilled only in a theory which denied the humean thesis that nothing can be right or wrong but thinking makes it so.

§8. We have now sketched the first important set of dangers that are present on the humean course which has been adopted by modern economists. There happens also to be a second set with equally serious implications, calling for us to continue to move as carefully and precisely as possible. The reader who may have been unconvinced by the argument so far will therefore have a fresh set of challenges to consider, while the author will have to ask for the patience of the reader who may have agreed that there does happen to be something wrong at the foundations of the received theory of economic knowledge.
In short, there is the problem that an adoption of moral scepticism on its own may lead by parity of reasoning to total scepticism, to the ‘pyrrhonism’ which Hume himself had drawn back from. For what will come to be noticed by the truly serious and tough-minded sceptic is that the general logic employed in Hume’s First Law is in fact extremely powerful, more powerful than Hume or the modern humean economist may wish or intend it to be. For the tough-minded sceptic will look at Hume’s First Law and say: Why stop at ethics? Why so half-hearted? That it is not legitimate to deduce one kind of statement from another kind of statement is surely an argument of more general application. Just as a sceptical attack can be launched upon the possibility of ethics, so why not launch sceptical attacks everywhere: on the possibilities of science and history and induction and deduction and everything? In particular, the tough-minded sceptic will say to the humean economist: Why do you stop with normative economics? — Surely you can and you must destroy all of positive economics as well!
It was shown some years ago by the English philosopher John Wisdom how sceptical attacks analogous to Hume’s attack on ethics in fact can be made in a number of other contexts as well. Let us consider an example similar to one given by Wisdom to show how easily it may be possible to proceed to be sceptical of something so obvious as our knowledge of the past. A sceptic says “Do we really know anything about what has happened in the past? Can we be certain about anything that has happened at all before this very instant?” You say to him “What do you mean? Surely you don’t mean that while we know some things for certain such as that we are now having this conversation, we don’t know for certain other things such as that we did get up from bed this morning or that Nazi Germany did invade Poland on September 1 1939?” The sceptic says “Yes that’s the kind of thing I mean.” You reply “Well that’s crazy. I for one am just as confident of knowing that here I am talking with you now, as I am that I got up this morning, as indeed I am that Nazi Germany invaded Poland on September 1 1939.” The sceptic says “Please tell me how you can be so certain you got up this morning.” Staring at him in disbelief, you reply “Look I usually get up to the alarm clock at 7 am; this morning was no different; I remember the clock going at 7 am as usual, and I got up. That’s all there’s to it.” The sceptic makes a flanking movement. “If you remember something taking place you would of course imply the event did take place?” You are now perhaps quite irritated by this odd fellow — “Obviously; I could not have remembered the alarm clock going off if it had not in fact gone off.” But in fact the sceptic has got you exactly in his sights and can move in for the kill. “In that case it appears to me you have missed the point of my original question completely. I wished to know how we can know anything about the past. You gave me an example that you knew you had gotten up this morning, and that you knew this for certain because the alarm clock had gone off as usual and that you remembered getting up when it did. I can agree of course that if you knew this premise to be true then you are entitled to deduce that you know you did get up this morning. But you will have to grant that this is a premise which itself refers to the past. So all you would have done in supporting one statement about the past is to have given me another statement about the past, when the point of my question was to ask how we can know anything at all about the past for certain.”
Just as the fact we cannot deduce a normative conclusion without a normative premise having been made might lead someone to a moral scepticism, so the fact we cannot deduce a conclusion about the past without a premise about the past being made might lead someone to a historical scepticism. That Nazi Germany did invade Poland on September 1 1939, cannot be deduced except by reference to other historical premises — films and photographs of the dive-bombers going in against the Polish Cavalry, government documents, the testimony of eye-witnesses, reports in the newspapers of September 2 1939, etc. The sceptic agrees that if the premises were known to be true then the conclusion would be true as well, but he says that that would be to miss his point. Like the moral sceptic, he is challenging the possibility of our knowledge of all propositions of a particular kind, and it is no use giving him for his scepticism what amounts to merely a another proposition of the same kind. Bambrough has put the matter clearly thus: “So long as the premises used in support of a proposition include any propositions of the same type as itself, a philosophical sceptic, or any other enquirer who is determined to seek the ultimate grounds, is properly dissatisfied, since his question is about how propositions of that whole type are to be validated, and he cannot consistently permit any such proposition to be unproblematic when it occurs among the premises of an argument whose conclusion is of the same type…. the grounds offered for a proposition of kind k will necessarily be either of kind k or not of kind k; if they are of kind k they may be logically sufficient for the proposition that they are intended to support, but a further question will arise about the validation of the premises themselves; if on the other hand they are not of kind k then they necessarily cannot be logically sufficient for the truth of the proposition that they are intended to support.”
Yet once this box has been opened, we are obliged to examine all its contents, and there are quite a number. For one thing we may now join with the sceptic of the senses and cast doubt on all the knowledge the natural sciences purport to provide of the physical world; since, surely, no conclusion about the physical world can be deduced without a premise about the physical world having been made. Next we might join with the solipsist and question the possibility of knowledge in psychology, doubting whether one can ever know what someone else thinks or feels; since, surely, no conclusion about a mind other than one’s own can be deduced without a premise of the same sort having been made. It is this species of scepticism which forms the basis of the widespread belief in modern economics of the impossibility of interpersonal comparisons of utility, which we observed in discussing the views of Professor Hicks in Chapter 2 and to which we shall be returning in Chapter 10. Then of course there is Hume himself being just as famous for his sceptical attack on the possibility of induction as he is for his attack on the possibility of ethics: “there can be no demonstrative arguments to prove, that those instances of which we have had no experience resemble those of which we have had experience.” “Nay, I will go farther, and assert, that [reason alone] could not so much as prove by any probable arguments, that the future must be conformable to the past. All probable arguments are built on the supposition, that there is this conformity betwixt the future and the past, and therefore can never prove it. This conformity is a matter of fact, and if it must be proved, will admit of no proof but from experience. But our experience of the past can be a proof of nothing for the future, but upon a supposition, that there is a resemblance betwixt them. This therefore is a point, which can admit of no proof at all, and which we can take for granted without any proof.” In short, no conclusion about the future can be deduced without at least one premise about the future having been made.
And then again, the full force of the sceptical onslaught can be felt when we direct its method against that of which we might seem most certain of all: the procedure of deduction itself in logic and mathematics. Adapting an example given by Wisdom and Bambrough, we can see how it may not be possible without circularity to use deductive reasoning to justify deduction itself.
For consider the propositions All firms maximize profits and GM is a firm. We would be normally inclined to think GM maximizes profits is something which follows from these. But the serious sceptic can once more ask how we may justify such a conclusion. We might be inclined to take such a challenge lightly, and try to dismiss it by stating a general rule of the form of modus ponnens: “If all S is P, and x is S then x is P.” But that would be a mistake and we would have fallen directly for the trap set for us, since the sceptic would need only to make the following decisive response: “A rule of this sort must necessarily either exclude or include the particular case at hand. If it is intended to exclude this particular case but is intended to apply to every other case, then clearly I need not accept in this case that the conclusion GM maximizes profits follows from the premises All firms maximize profits and GM is a firm. On the other hand, if the rule is intended to include this case as well, then you are asking me to reason as follows: ‘In all syllogisms, deduction proceeds like this; this is a syllogism; therefore, deduction proceeds like this here as well.’ All you would have done in trying to justify the deduction at hand is to have given me yet another deduction against which all my arguments would apply with equal force once more. You may not mind arguing in a circle but I am not going to join you.” If making an is ought dualism is sufficient ground for us to doubt the possibility of moral knowledge, then we seem now to have just as good grounds to doubt we can know anything at all. The upshot of these kinds of sceptical attacks on the practice of modern economics may be seen quite readily. For consider the fact that it would be difficult to overestimate the significance to the practice of modern economic science of (i) the elementary mathematical concept of a function, mapping all the values taken by one variable X upon a range of values taken by another variable Y, and (ii) the formal and informal procedures of statistical inference. Yet at their foundations, all procedures of statistical inference must rest upon the possibility of a rational induction. Suppose there was some economic variable Y which has been found to take a particular value in each of the last 100 or 200 or 300 or 500 periods. Or suppose it is found in each of a large number of observations that Y happens to be systematically related by some identifiable functional form to another economic variable X. It will be seldom if ever that we shall be obliged with such neat data, but it will be readily agreed the study of such relationships whether in economic theory or in economic history or in applied economics or in econometrics constitutes the very stuff of the modern science. The variable Y might be the quantity traded of a good where X is the market price, or Y the long-term interest rate and X the state of expectations, or Y the change in the price and X the difference between quantity demanded and quantity supplied, or Y the rate of inflation and X the money supply, and so on indefinitely in hundreds of different contexts. If we are genuinely serious about adopting a humean scepticism — that is, adopting it consistently, without contradiction — then we must lead ourselves to conclude that even with a thousand observations of Y taking a certain value after X had taken a certain value, we would still have no grounds, no deductive grounds, for predicting the value of Y given the 1001st observation of X. From no amount of past evidence can any proposition about the present or the future be deduced. Equally, if we were to prevent ourselves out of a debilitating scepticism of this kind from employing the modus ponnens of deductive reasoning — if all S is P, and x is S then x is P — then all reasoning in economic theory would immediately come to a standstill. Without induction and deduction, we cannot proceed in economics or elsewhere: it would be not only normative economics but all of economics which would come to be lost in the whirlpools of scepticism.
The point the sceptic wishes to make is that we cannot deduce one kind of proposition from an altogether different kind of proposition — the is ought dualism may be a useful reminder that we cannot deduce a normative conclusion from any number of positive premises. Every normative conclusion must have had at least one normative premise, and it is the attempt to justify one normative proposition by offering another as a premise that allows the moral sceptic to keep repeating his challenge indefinitely. But that does not prevent us from asking whether the sceptic has not skewed the rules of the game in such a way that he must always win, and if he has done so, we can certainly decline to play. For what the sceptic seems to require is that the grounds for any kind of justification specifically be deductive grounds. We are to deduce every proposition as the descendant of other higher or more primitive propositions, which might explain how the sceptic is able to raise the threat of an infinite regress in every field in which he attacks. “Everything we offer and everything we could conceivably offer is either too little or too much…. Nothing will ever do to meet the sceptic’s requirement. But that is different from saying nothing will ever do.” Perhaps it is not necessary to meet the sceptic’s requirement. Perhaps it is not even possible to do so. Perhaps we do not have to have a deductive proof to justify that we can and we do know some things in science, in history, in ethics, in psychology, in economics, or that we can and do frequently and reliably use inductive reasoning in these and a hundred other contexts. In Part II we shall be making an argument on these lines more fully to show how scepticism can be avoided even as we steer well clear of the opposite dangers of dogmatism. What is important here is only to notice the slide into total scepticism that may be entailed by adopting moral scepticism on its own. The economist who accepts an is-ought dualism as an adequate reason for adopting a subjectivist theory of knowledge comes to face an unhappy choice between either becoming in the interest of consistency a sceptic of all of economics — theory, history, econometrics, everything, not to mention everything else outside economics as well like natural science and mathematics and history; or denying the parity of reasoning, and not having adequate grounds for believing objectivity is possible in one context but not another. Either accept the propositions of positive economics and natural science and mathematics and history etc. to be, in the final analysis, just as subjective as normative propositions. The infinite regress threatens everywhere, what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, so there cannot be objective knowledge of any kind anywhere. The economist slides into a scepticism about everything — into the pyrrhonism which Hume himself had rejected. Or become a partial and prejudiced sceptic like the positivist — led to the inconsistency of threatening only normative propositions with infinite regress when analogous sceptical attacks can be made with equal force in any number of non-normative contexts as well, and therefore not having adequate reason to maintain objective knowledge to be possible in contexts other than ethics. When asked “Can there be objective knowledge in economics?” if we answer “No, truth is defined merely by agreement of opinions; we know a proposition in economics to be true only insofar as economists happened to agree it to be true; if such agreement fails to hold in the future the proposition would no longer be true”, we next may be asked “Can there be objective knowledge in physics?”, to which we can only reply yes or no. If yes, we shall have said that there is merely rhetoric in economics, perhaps a highly evolved and sophisticated rhetoric but mere rhetoric nevertheless, certainly not objective knowledge. We would justify the cynic and the cartoonist who mocks economists as the most querulous of breeds, for every one who says this there is another who says that, how it is entirely a matter of caprice or fashion or pecuniary interest which side one happens to take, whose “paradigm” one happens to accept. We should have to frankly admit to the scholarly commmunity that since there is nothing which may be properly called objective knowledge in economics, the Department of Economics in every university should be closed down, or why there might just as well be a Department of Astrology on campus too, teaching and researching the reading of palms, the writing of horoscopes, and so on. On the other hand, if we denied there to be objective knowledge possible of the physical world as well, if we said we cannot be certain of such things as that there is a table in this room or that the window is open and there is a tree outside it, then we would have to do battle not only with every scientist in history but also with the man on the street, whose commonsense like our own tells us the opposite.
It is said that Hume thought himself leaving his scepticism behind when he left his study. Yet “[his] scepticism is at odds with his actions even when he is at his most deliberately and consciously philosophical. His pen goes confidently to the ink-pot, he turns the pages of Sextus Empiricus with the well grounded expectation that Book II will be found between Books I and III…. it is shown by his life that he believes what he is trying to doubt.” Just as surely as the scholastics fell under the Spell of Plato, so modern economists may have fallen under the Spell of Hume. The time has come at last to see how both spells may be broken.
PART II

5. Objectivity and Freedom

SUPPOSE there was a philosopher who addressed modern economists in a strange way as follows
Consider the entities that we call ‘firms’. I mean banks, manufacturers, airlines, law partnerships, farms, grocery-stores, and so on. What is common to them all? — Don’t say: “There must be something in common, or they would not be called ‘firms'” — but look and see whether there is anything common to all. — For if you look at them you will not see something that is common to all, but similarities, relationships, and a whole series of them at that. To repeat: don’t think, but look! — Look for example at banks with their multifarious relationships. Now pass to savings and loans associations; here you find many correspondences with the first group, but many common features drop out, and others appear. When we pass next to manufacturers and transporters, much that is common is retained, but much is lost. — Are they all ‘profit-maximizing’? Compare the taxi company with the electricity company. Or is there always a separation of ownership from management? Think of the tailor’s shop at the corner. With corporations there is the buying and selling of shares; but when a farmer is offered a price for his homestead this feature too may have disappeared. Look at the part played by entrepreneurship; and at the difference between the entrepreneurship of a mom-and-pop shop and the entrepreneurship of a firm of lobbyists. Think now of firms like General Motors; here is the element of giant size, but how many other characteristic features have disappeared! And we can go through the many, many other groups of firms in the same way; can see how similarities crop up and disappear.
What should we think of such a strange philosopher? And what answer is to be made to him by the economist?
The philosopher is Ludwig Wittgenstein, and the passage which has been paraphrased here, odd though it may seem, is among the most famous in twentieth century philosophy, from his posthumous work Philosophical Investigations. The problem that can be found to be raised in it is the ancient problem of universals, the problem of the One and the Many, of Unity and Diversity: Must all instances of a general term or concept have anything in common, over and above the fact they are all instances of the same concept? Must all firms have anything in common, over and above the fact they are all firms? Must all red things have anything in common, over and above the fact they are all red things? Certainly we know there to be individual red things like red poppies and red roses and red corpuscles and redheads and Red Square, and we know there to be individual firms like General Motors and Mitsubishi and Kodak and the corner grocery-store. But how is each individual red thing related to the general concept ‘Red’? How are General Motors, Mitsubishi, the corner-store etc. each related to the general concept ‘Firm’? Should we think of red poppies and red corpuscles and redheads as each sharing or partaking of some transcendental property, a universal, called ‘Redness’? Should we think of General Motors and Mitsubishi and the corner-store as each sharing or partaking of some universal called ‘Firmhood’? Would it be because they do that we call a red thing red or a firm a firm?
Interpreting Wittgenstein’s passage in this way, one response that might be made to it would be this: “What you seem to be doing is to test whether there is any property common to all firms. However, as your example suggests, individual firms are actually indefinitely varied — in their goals, constraints, size, type of ownership, operating characteristics, and so on. (Even if they were not indefinitely varied as a matter of fact, we can certainly imagine them being indefinitely varied in principle.) Indeed so much do individual firms vary that, in my opinion, we should not think there to be anything at all in common to all of them, besides of course our arbitrary decision to call them all ‘firms’.” Let us call such a reply the reply of the Nominalist.
But another response to the same passage could go like this: “I agree that what you are trying to suggest is that there is no common property between all the things we call firms. But surely in applying the concept ‘firm’ we must have an objective justification. For instance, while we do and we may apply the concept to General Motors and to Mitsubishi and to the corner-store, we do not and may not apply it just arbitrarily to any old thing at all — such as to my umbrella or to the number 16 or to Harry Truman or to the characters in a Dickens novel. Even when people refer to modern Japan as ‘Japan Inc.’, what they mean is that some analogy can be drawn between the way a firm works and the way political and economic arrangements in Japan seem to work, not that Japan is literally a firm, for that would be absurd since Japan is not a firm but a sovereign nation-state, a parliamentary democracy, a former Axis power, etc., and to call her a firm would be an objective misuse of language. It is likely that a property common to all individual firms does exist, and indeed it seems to me it is precisely because it does exist, whether or not we have been able to identify it, that we are entitled to call all firms ‘firms’, and so distinguish what are firms, such as General Motors and Mitsubishi and the corner-store, from what are not firms, such as Harry Truman or my umbrella or the nation-state of Japan.” Let us call such a reply the reply of the Realist.
The Nominalist stresses the Many — he is the lover of Freedom and Diversity, and the enemy of all Dogmatism and Conformity. He looks and insists that we look at the vast differences there are or can be — between firms, in the uses of words and concepts, across ways of life and culture, in the histories of nations, in the circumstances and personalities of individuals. The Realist worries about the indiscipline and caprice that can result from the exaggeration or corruption of freedom. He recognizes and insists that we recognize the vast areas of commonality there are or can be. We use words and language only because there are objective or “intersubjective” (Popper) ways of speaking and understanding. No matter how diverse individual personalities or circumstances or ways of life may be, the fact is we belong to one species (or one genus etc.), which implies something different from if we had not. The Realist stresses the One; he is the lover of Objectivity and Reason, and the enemy of all Scepticism.
A similar division may be made to obtain with any of a number of other concepts in economics as well — ‘capital’, ‘money’, ‘utility’, ‘competitive market’, ‘unemployment’, ‘development’, ‘mixed economy’, ‘socialist economy’, or any of a hundred others. In each case, the plea of the Nominalist would be that we observe the differences between the individual instances, the plea of the Realist that we respect the similarities. Indeed what should be supposed to be in common between individual economists themselves? From Aaron, Abramovitz and Ackley, through Bagehot, Baran and Bauer, and Cantillon, Cassell and Cournot, all the way to Zeckhauser, Zellner and Zeuthen, what is there in common except that each happens to be listed in a recent bibliographic dictionary of economists? The Nominalist would say “Nothing. Ultimately there is nothing in common to all economists except that we have chosen to call them all economists. That these people happen to be in the dictionary and other people like Picasso or Jesse Owens or Greta Garbo are not is, ultimately, just a matter of arbitrary choice.” The Realist would say “Surely there must be something in common to all economists, otherwise we would not call them economists. We wouldn’t in our right minds consider Picasso, Jesse Owens, or Greta Garbo to be economists, just as we wouldn’t consider Wicksell, Keynes, or Milton Friedman to be famous artists, athletes, or cinema stars. There must be an objective justification to calling someone an economist — it must be that economists are economists because they all believe in Q”; where Q would refer to some criterion like the practice of mathematical modelling, or an attribution of utility-maximization, or an attendance to statistical data, or a concern with the distribution of wealth and income. If someone did not believe in Q, did not fall under a specific definition of this kind, the Realist would be inclined to say such a person was not really an economist at all but something of an imposter or a charlatan who did not rightfully belong in the dictionary. And of course if one man chooses one Q and another chooses another then we may begin to explain how each might think himself to fall under his own definition of economist while it was the other fellow who was the charlatan.
A similar division can be made to obtain upon the larger concept of science itself. The Nominalist would observe the rich and indefinite variety there is in the methods and subject-matter of the individual sciences, and indeed that there can be within any of the individual sciences as well — certainly within physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering but also within mathematics, law, medicine, economics, history, and philosophy itself. Dazzled by all the different colours and the different shades of different colours, the Nominalist would tend to conclude there to be no unifying characteristic between the sciences, nothing except that we have chosen to name them all sciences. The Realist for his part would observe and be impressed by the many points of comparison there are between and within the individual sciences. And being especially concerned to protect the concept of science from being hijacked and employed arbitrarily to just anything at all, the Realist will be in search of the common ingredient which he thinks must be present in each individual science to warrant our calling it a science at all. The Realist will be inclined to say that all scientific statements have this in common — where his this would now refer to something like “hypothetico-deductive methodology”, or the use of mathematics or deductive proof, or the empirical testability or falsifiability of propositions, or knowing the means of verification. The Realist searches for the criterion or set of criteria which he believes to be necessary to demarcate science from non-science (Popper), public knowledge from private opinion. And again, if one man chooses one criterion to demarcate science from non-science and another chooses another and contrary criterion, we can imagine the merry possibility of how each might think himself to fall under his own definition of scientist while really it is the other fellow who is the charlatan and the fraud.
Parallel to this kind of a division between Nominalism and Realism in the theory of existence occurs the division between Scepticism and Dogmatism in the theory of knowledge which we have met with in previous chapters. A Nominalist in ontology is likely also to be a Sceptic in epistemology, and a Realist in ontology is likely also to be a Dogmatist in epistemology and vice versa. C. S. Peirce had remarked that two points of contrast between scholastic and modern thought lay in the modern opinions that thought “must begin with universal doubt, whereas scholasticism had never questioned fundamentals” and that “the ultimate test of certainty is to be found in the individual consciousness; whereas scholasticism had relied on the testimony of sages and of the Catholic Church.” The Dogmatist finds there are at least some things which are certainly known. Therefore, he concludes, it must be that we cannot question everything, it must be that there are at least some propositions which should be supposed to be closed to further inquiry and discussion. Thus the medieval schoolmen would have supposed the Christian Scriptures to contain at least some propositions of this sort. Certainly there is scope to reason but it is a scope necessarily limited by the doctrines and dogmas of the faith. It would be precisely against this kind of a barrier being placed on the road of inquiry that the Sceptic protests. And finding there to be no human belief which must be thought of as closed to further question, the Sceptic concludes that it must be we cannot know anything for certain. Each side seems to have a compelling reason in its favour yet to be in direct contradiction of the other. One asks for belief and conviction, the other for doubt and question. The feeling of an antinomy arises because we feel we must choose between them.
It was suggested in Chapter 3 that medieval political thinking was platonistic and absolutist in important respects, and evidence has been given in Chapter 2 that modern economists have adopted the sceptical humean epistemology which may be seen as a reaction to the medieval dogmatism. As Peirce’s remarks make clear, this would not be a new thesis, though it is perhaps something which has not been adequately noticed before by modern economists and it has now been plainly set out. It is also a thesis which amounts to being a generalization, and suffers, as all generalizations must, from a lack of truth in its details, especially in not doing nearly enough justice to the depth and diversity of medieval thought. Yet every generation must be concerned with identifying and correcting the errors of its own time, and the purpose of trying to establish even such a generalized thesis as this has been to correct contemporary errors: to argue that the humean foundations of the modern theory of economic knowledge entail serious difficulties, that it is these and not the is-ought dualism which turn out to be insurmountable, that the broad and long standing consensus on the central question of the relationship between economic knowledge and economic advice, the positive and the normative, cannot be held consistently and deserves to be abandoned.
Nevertheless the reader who may have agreed with the drift of these arguments may wish to ask whether, in an attempt to correct contemporary errors, we shall not be led to commit the errors of an earlier time. Will we become Dogmatists if we renounce Scepticism? Are we forced to choose between Realist and Nominalist, Dogmatist and Sceptic, Plato and Hume? Must we either admit objectivity and reality and knowledge and expertise and common reasoning and commonsense, and suppress diversity and individuality and creativity and freedom and question and criticism; or embrace diversity and individuality and creativity and freedom and question and criticism, and abandon objectivity and reality and knowledge and expertise and common reasoning and commonsense? Can we lead our thinking lives coherently enough without making a choice, or would we find ourselves inevitably being shuttled between the rival parties, one moment in the Nominalist’s camp the next moment in the Realist’s, one moment with the Sceptics the next moment with the Dogmatists? If we decide to abandon Hume, is there no choice but Plato? If we find Plato’s embrace too close and claustrophobic, is there no alternative but to continue to live in doubt with Hume? Are we caught between the Spell of Plato and the Spell of Hume? Is the choice: Either Objectivity or Freedom?

§2. The simple answer that may be offered is that it is not. When objectivity and freedom, knowledge and doubt, have been carefully and adequately characterized, there is no conflict which must arise between them, whether in natural science, mathematics, ethics, history, economics, medicine, law, literature, or any other context of inquiry. There may be good reasons to be a Nominalist and also good reasons to be a Realist and yet better reasons to be neither. There may be good reasons to adopt a sceptical theory of knowledge and also good reasons to adopt a dogmatic theory of knowledge and yet better reasons to adopt neither. A course can be found which will allow us to steer clear of the hazards of Dogmatism on the one side while avoiding the whirlpools of Scepticism on the other.
How we may proceed to chart such a course is by airing and exposing a hidden and questionable assumption which may be being shared by both Nominalist and Realist. Namely, an assumption that for a general term or concept like ‘firm’ or ‘game’ or ‘science’ to be objectively employed, there must also correspond some sort of object. Just as alcohol is common to whiskey and beer and gin, so some common ingredient must be present in General Motors and Mitsubishi and the corner grocery-store in order to make them all firms. If such an assumption does happen to be at the source of the division between Nominalist and Realist, we might readily explain how it is that each seems plausible in part yet neither seems satisfactory as a whole. The Nominalist finds he cannot distill out any single common ingredient from all the particular instances of firms that there are or can be. But because he may be committed to an assumption that such an ingredient is necessary for the concept ‘firm’ to be objectively employed, he concludes it cannot be objectively employed. The Realist is certain the concept ‘firm’ can be objectively employed, and very certain it should not be arbitrarily employed, but because he too may be committed to the same assumption, he concludes there must be a common ingredient, a common “essence” which every particular firm must share, prompting him to make a search for it or merely declare his faith in it being “there”, somewhere, “out there”.
Wittgenstein in his later works (as well as others before and after him such as H. A. Price) may be understood to have offered a suggestion that to make this kind of dualism between Nominalism and Realism is ultimately mistaken and misleading. After careful and detailed examination of a variety of the individual entities or institutions or activities which fall under a general concept like ‘firm’ or ‘game’ or ‘competitive market’ or ‘mixed economy’ or ‘economist’ or ‘science’, it may well be that we shall wish to make an entry in our notebooks of the following sort: “We see a complicated network of similarities overlapping and criss-crossing: sometimes overall similarities, sometimes similarities in detail. I can think of no better expression to characterize these similarities than ‘family resemblances’; for the various resemblances between members of a family: build, features, colour of eyes, gait, temperament etc. etc. overlap and criss-cross in the same way.” An alternative to a common ingredient model of the structure of concepts would be a family resemblances model, and an example constructed by Bambrough may easily illustrate its working. Suppose there to be five objects, A, B, C, D, E, each of which has four out of five possible properties, a, b, c, d, e. A pattern may be produced like
object A B C D E
properties bcde acde abde abce abcd
in which each object would evidently share 75% of its properties with every other yet there would no single property or set of properties common to all the objects. “But if someone wished to say: ‘There is something in common to all these constructions — namely the disjunction of all their common properties’ — I should reply: Now you are playing with words. One might as well say: ‘Something runs through the whole thread — namely the continuous overlapping of those fibres.”
Many concepts, perhaps even most concepts, may be family resemblance concepts, their instances constituting “a ‘family’ of diverse things bundled together by virtue of shifting similarities”. While there may be no single or constant similarity between all the individual instances of firms or games or economists or sciences or competitive markets or mixed economies, there may be diverse and shifting similarities between the different instances. It is these shifting similarities which can provide an adequate justification for supposing the different instances to fall under the same concept; while the recognition that there is no need for them to be anything but shifting in kind would equally justify not making a search for some mysterious essence which must be common to the individual instances. (We might even “throw away the ladder” after we have climbed with it — for armed with such a model of the structure of concepts, we might even take Nominalism and Realism as family resemblance concepts themselves!)
A parallel observation is suggested about the division between Sceptic and Dogmatist, and a parallel resolution may be offered as well. Perhaps there too the problem occurs because the Sceptic and the Dogmatist have been united in sharing a hidden and questionable assumption, viz., that if knowledge is to be considered objective, it must also be considered absolute, not admitting any error or exception. The Sceptic correctly sees error to be possible, indeed error to be ubiquitous, and so an absolute or exceptionless knowledge to be impossible; from which he mistakenly concludes objective knowledge to be impossible. The Dogmatist correctly sees many things indeed to be known, but mistakes the character of what is known or at least some of what is known as incorrigible and unexceptionable, and goes on to deny error and exception to be possible. An equal and opposite error would be to confound the notion of something being personal or subjective with respect to an individual and the notion of something being relative to a given individual case or context or circumstance. That something can be true or right in a given case, context, or circumstance does not imply it must be true or right in all cases or contexts or circumstances. Nor does it have to mean that such knowledge must have been derived by applying an absolute and unexceptionable law or theory to a particular case. What may be true or right simply may be true or right relative to the particular case or context or circumstance, while the fact it is relative to the case or circumstance would not imply that it is a matter of subjective choice whether it is true or right.
An example can illustrate. If a child asked us whether Chicago is to the left or the right of New York, we might say that this is an incomplete question with no definite answer. Relative to someone looking north in Washington, Chicago is certainly to the left of New York, while relative to someone looking south in Montreal, it is to the right of New York. In each case, there is an objectively right answer to the question relative to the situation of the observer. And the significant fact would be the situation of the observer, not what his subjective beliefs might happen to be. If a man in Montreal said Chicago was to the left of New York he would be making an objective mistake in the sense that anyone in his situation should be reasonably expected to conclude the opposite. Or consider that while the West is due West and the East is due East of Istanbul, the West is due East and the East is due West — of Honolulu. The Sceptic would take the fact different and conflicting answers are possible to the same question as evidence for the conclusion that it is ultimately arbitrary what we call West or East, or whether Chicago is to the left or right of New York. The Dogmatist would take one or the other answer and conclude it must hold absolutely true everywhere, without possibility of exception or error. The division has been expressed clearly by Bambrough like this: “Both the sceptic and his dogmatist opponent assume that the absoluteness of logical space is necessary for the objectivity of enquiry; that in seeking knowledge and understanding we orient ourselves, if at all, by fixed landmarks whose own positions neither can be nor need to be the subject of investigation. Sceptics become sceptical because they recognise that what they believe to be necessary is nevertheless not possible. Dogmatists become dogmatic because they rebel against the paradoxes of scepticism but still agree with the sceptic on what is necessary for the validity of our knowledge. One party denies the possibility of knowledge because it sees that logical space is relative and the other denies that logical space is relative because it sees that knowledge is possible.” Both Sceptic and Dogmatist may be seen as united in their belief as to what will be allowed to count as knowledge — in what must be supposed to be the appropriate model of the justification of knowledge. In answering the question “How do we know this?” both may be assuming that we have to deduce our answer from some previous and more general law, rule, or theory; the answers we seek or arrive at must always be a particular application or exemplification of some more general thesis. (Wittgenstein wrote of a “craving for generality” and a “contemptuous attitude towards the particular case”.) The Sceptic becomes sceptical because he finds the process of deduction to be one without end. Deduction cannot be done without a remainder of unproven premises — a conclusion is deduced from a set of premises, each of which is the conclusion of other sets of premises, each member of which is the conclusion of yet other sets of premises, and so on. For every proposition there seems to be a genealogical tree consisting of all the lines from which the proposition deductively descends. The fact these lines can be indefinitely extended to unknown reaches leads the Sceptic to think the pedigree of every proposition to be questionable, that every argument ultimately must be inconclusive, that there really can be no such thing as certain knowledge. The Dogmatist shares the same kind of idea that the only justification of knowledge is a deductive justification, and also observing the same kind of threat of infinite regress in argument, decides to call a halt at some or other point; the precise point where to halt either being determined ex cathedra (the medieval schoolmen) or being chosen arbitrarily (the humean economist!). At such a point the Dogmatist is ready to stand and fight, and of course if different people choose different and contrary points, we may expect some mighty rows indeed to develop between rival dogmas. Indeed it is possible that economists who have subscribed to the received theory of knowledge have been both sceptical about the possibility of moral knowledge and dogmatic about the existence of supreme unquestionable normative primes and principles. The widespread adoption of moral scepticism may be itself a relevant fact in explaining how it is that numerous divisions of opinion have been so persistent in modern economics, whether with respect to the methods or the substance of inquiry in the subject. Thus it is possible to find eminent economists being in deep and seemingly irreconcilable conflict with one another on questions of method or theory or evidence or policy, being members or even founders of rival schools of thought, yet being completely agreed that the logical status of economic advice is equivalent ultimately to that of personal bias or prejudice. As Peirce remarked: “When society is broken into bands, now warring, now allied, now for a time subordinated one to another, man loses his conceptions of truth and of reason. If he sees one man assert what another denies, he will, if he is concerned, choose his side and set to work by all means in his power to silence his adversaries. The truth for him is that for which he fights.”

§3. It is possible that this parallelism between the Nominalist/Realist divide in the theory of existence and the Sceptic/Dogmatist divide in the theory of knowledge is not accidental. There is a possible connection which goes back to Plato. For it was part of Plato’s thinking that the things we find in the world are merely distorted and defective versions of ideal entities not actually given to human experience. In mathematics for example, a platonist would say that the dot we make on a piece of paper and call “a point” is but a defective image of the ideal point which has no parts or magnitude; the chalk mark on the blackboard which we call “a line” is but a defective version of the ideal line which has no breadth or width, and so on. It is these kinds of ideal points, lines, planes, etc. which are the true objects of mathematics; while they do not have location in the world in which we live that does not mean they are any less real. Rather mathematical objects should be thought of as inhabiting a kind of transcendental universe, a domain not directly observable yet which is reachable through the reasonings of the mathematician and philosopher, whose task it would be to discover and chart this unobservable terrain much as the geographer and astronomer discover and chart the observable earth and universe in which we live. As the English mathematician G. H. Hardy put it: “For me, and I suppose for most mathematicians, there is another reality, which I will call ‘mathematical reality’; and there is no sort of agreement about the nature of mathematical reality among either mathematicians or philosophers. Some hold that it is ‘mental’ and that in some sense we construct it, others that it is outside and independent of us…. I believe that mathematical reality lies outside us, that our function is to discover and observe it, and that the theorems which we prove, and which we describe grandiloquently as our ‘creations’, are simply notes of our observations.” Professor Michael Dummett has put it recently like this: “[Platonism is] the thesis that there really do exist such structures of abstract objects, and that we are capable of apprehending them by a faculty of intuition which is to abstract entities as our powers of perception are to physical objects.”
And ideal mathematical objects need not be the only inhabitants of Plato’s heaven. So could be ideal men and ideal women, ideal marriages and ideal families, ideal languages and ideal cultures, ideal economic agents trading at ideal prices in ideal markets, ideal societies and ideal polities. In fact there is some evidence to think modern economic theorists may have subscribed to such a view. For example, Professor Arrow remarked in his Nobel Lecture: “In my own thinking, the model of general equilibrium under uncertainty is as much a normative ideal as an empirical description. It is the way the actual world differs from the criteria of the model which suggests social policy to improve the efficiency with which risk bearing is allocated.” And Professor Hahn in his Political Economy Lecture at Harvard University and elsewhere has argued that the model of general equilibrium “serves a function similar to that which an ideal and perfectly healthy body might serve a clinical diagnostician when he looks at an actual body”, that even though the model “is known to conflict with the facts” and “is not a description of an actual economy” it nevertheless tells us “what the world would have to look like” if a neoclassical view of the economy is to be considered plausible. What is it possible to understand Arrow and Hahn to mean by such remarks except to be endorsing a platonist ontology? If so, it would of course sit oddly with their subjectivism elsewhere; we shall return to these matters in Chapters 9 and 10.
The platonist seeks to mentally grasp the ideal entities by his “mind’s hand” as it were, to use a phrase of Professor Morton White . And once he believes himself to have done so, the expression of his understanding would amount to being not only an expression of objective knowledge but an expression of absolute knowledge as well — something which is necessarily free of error or exception since it would have been the ideal which had been understood and expressed. The Realist becomes the Dogmatist. The Nominalist for his part wants nothing whatever to do with tales of airy fairy entities in transcendental heavens. As Professor W. V. O. Quine might have put it, what needs to be done instead is to make a clean shave of Plato’s Beard with Occam’s Razor. But in rejecting a picture of transcendental entities and the theory of absolute knowledge that goes with it, if the Nominalist cuts too thickly, he ends up rejecting the possibility of objective knowledge as well; the Nominalist becomes the Sceptic.
The theory of knowledge suggested by the writings of Peirce and Wittgenstein independently, suggests a third route. Reject Plato’s theory of a transcendental universe, as being unnecessary to the resolution of any question in the theory of knowledge. With it therefore is rejected the idea that to know something certainly and objectively we must have deduced it from some absolute and general law, theory, rule or principle; that when we say we know something we must be in fact expressing the discovery of some ideal transcendental “form”. Gone at once would be the possibility of an error-free and exceptionless knowledge which forms the basis of the Dogmatist’s dogmatism. Error and folly are ubiquitous: Let freedom ring! At the same time, once we unshackle ourselves from the cramped idea that every claim to genuine knowledge must be deduced from some previous and higher claim to knowledge and ultimately from some set of unquestionable supreme principles or axioms, we may reject Hume just as decisively as we reject Plato. The antidote to Hume’s debilitating and self-contradictory scepticism is commonsense. — We know some things are true and other things are false, we know some things to be right and other things to be wrong. And we can know these things without having to be haunted by an idea that we do not truly know them unless we have deduced them from some “higher” or more general proposition. The general rule or principle or theory may serve perfectly well as the unquestioned premise of one argument only to be the questionable conclusion of another. The inductive and the deductive may alternate in the activity of reasoning, as we proceed from one set of particular cases and questions to another set of particular cases and questions via as many general rules, principles, and theories that we need. As John Wisdom put it: “Examples are the final food of thought. Principles and laws may serve us well. They can help us to bring to bear on what is now in question what is not now in question. They help us to connect one thing with another and another and another. But at the bar of reason, always the final appeal is to cases.”
Furthermore, there may be a third and alternative mode of reasoning too, namely, reasoning by analogy. When faced with a question to which we do not have an answer, what may be required of us may involve neither induction nor deduction but comparison and contrast. The most reasonable way to proceed in a given situation may be to take the question at hand to which we do not presently have an answer and compare and contrast it with questions on either side of it to which we do have true or right answers. Here is a question L to which we do not presently have an answer. But we do know the answer to a question K which is close to L on one side, as well as the answer to another question M which is close to L on the other side. Now our question is, is L more like K or more like M? The reader may agree that that is how much reasoning does in fact proceed — in mathematics as much as in medicine, in science as much as in literature, in engineering as much as in ethics. It may turn out that on a particular question L the present state of our knowledge happens to be so poor that we require an answer not only to K but also to I, H, G, F, E, on the one side of it, as well as an answer not only to M but also to N, O, P, Q, R, on the other side of it, as well as perhaps to questions above and below and all around it. Will that mean our project is hopeless or that common reasoning can be of no avail in answering L? Not at all — it would only mean there is that much work to be done. For inquiry to be inchoate does not have to be cause for despair.
This kind of a notion that in the actual process of inquiry we always do start somewhere, and indeed that that is the only place to start, is to be found being expressed in the writings of Peirce: “We cannot begin with complete doubt. We must begin with all the prejudices which we actually have when we enter upon the study of philosophy. These prejudices are not to be dispelled by (the Cartesian maxim that philosophy must begin with universal doubt) for they are things which it does not occur to us can be questioned. Hence this initial skepticism will be a mere self-deception, and not real doubt; and no one who follows the Cartesian method will ever be satisfied until he has formally recovered all those beliefs which in form he has given up…. A person may, it is true, in the course of his studies, find reason to doubt what he began by believing; but in that case he doubts because he has a positive reason for it, and not on account of the Cartesian maxim. Let us not pretend to doubt in philosophy what we do not doubt in our hearts.” Then again: “Philosophers of very diverse stripes propose that philosophy shall take its start from one or another state of mind in which no man, least of all the beginner in philosophy, actually is. One proposes that you shall begin by doubting everything, and says that there is only one thing that you cannot doubt, as if doubting were ‘as easy as lying’. Another proposes that we should begin by observing ‘the first impressions of sense’, forgetting that our very precepts are the results of cognitive elaboration. But in truth, there is but one state of mind from which you can ‘set out’, namely, the very state of mind in which you actually find yourself at the time you do ‘set out’ — a state in which you are laden with an immense mass of cognition already formed, of which you cannot divest yourself if you would; and who knows whether, if you could, you would not have made all knowledge impossible to yourself? Do you call it doubting to write down on a piece of paper that you doubt? If so, doubt has nothing to do with any serious business.” A remarkable resemblance to this line of thought is to be found in the later writing of Wittgenstein: “If you tried to doubt everything you would not get as far as doubting anything. The game of doubting itself presupposes certainty.”
No theory of knowledge can compel us to think of the activity of reasoning to be starting all of a sudden out of nothing and nowhere, nor are we obliged to suppose it must have any necessary end. We always start somewhere — there are always cases to which we do have answers with which to compare and contrast the particular case presently in question. And there are always unexamined cases and unasked questions remaining, which we may bring to test the validity and soundness of any general law or theory or definition or principle in which we may have come to believe on the basis of the known and settled cases. Thus reasoning can be thought of as a certain and objective activity without having to be thought of as an exhaustive activity. Argument can be potentially endless, but it is not thereby inconclusive. It is conclusive, but it is not thereby absolute or final. There need not be either any canonical points from which we have to begin our reasonings, or any ultimate destination at which we have to stop. Reasoning can be objective without being thought of as having to have either an absolute beginning or an absolute end. We can be objective without being platonist, we can admit a rich and indefinite variety and diversity without being subjectivist.
In the next chapter this line of argument is continued in more detail and concluded.

6. Expertise and Democracy

In this chapter we shall consider in more detail the thesis introduced in the last, with the intent of together providing the main outlines of a theory of economic knowledge with which to replace the received humean theory.

§2. Our first task is to try to provide a more formal refutation of scepticism, i.e., to formally prove the existence of knowledge, a task which is in fact quite readily accomplished.
We have noted in previous chapters the important difference between the question of whether it is possible for an objective answer to be given to a question, and the question of whether someone should be thought of as possessing such an answer and how we are supposed to identify him or her. The question of whether there can be any expertise about a given matter is independent of (and prior to) the question of who if anyone should be thought of as an expert about it. Scepticism, considered technically as a thesis in the theory of knowledge, needs to be concerned with the former question alone; the consistent and universal sceptic being someone who takes each and every concept like ‘scientific knowledge’, ‘historical knowledge’, ‘moral knowledge’, ‘mathematical knowledge’, ‘probable knowledge’, ‘economic knowledge’ etc. and argues it to be empty, devoid of content, ultimately extending to no instances, in the way concepts like ‘unicorn’ or ‘reigning Czar of Russia’ would be said to have no instances. Equally a refutation of scepticism may proceed as a logical exercise as well, amounting to showing the existence of just one instance of knowledge. And to argue the possible existence of knowledge in this way would not be to commit oneself to any claim of knowing who should be thought of as an expert or indeed to any claim of knowledge for oneself. The heated political problem of who is supposed to be an expert and how we are supposed to identify him or her deserves to be kept separate from the cooler logical problem of whether there can be any knowledge on a question in the first place.
It is in such a light that we may view the proof of the existence of an external world given by the English philosopher G. E. Moore. Moore raised his hands one at a time before the British Academy and declared to the effect “Here is one hand and here is another. Therefore we know there are at least two objects in the external world.” Or Moore might have taken a pencil from his pocket and said: “Here is a pen; therefore we know there to be a world outside our minds.” The sceptic who protested that Moore was holding a pencil and not a pen would have helped Moore to prove his point, in that an attempt to deny Moore was holding an object in his hand could not be more certain than Moore’s claim itself. A single such example may suffice to show the concept ‘knowledge of the external world’ to be not empty and scepticism of the senses to be false and misleading. Moore wanted to show that we can and we do know some things for certain, and that we know them neither by induction or deduction necessarily, nor by fiat or dogma or mysticism, but simply by commonsense. Furthermore, if a theory of knowledge came to imply we did not know such things to be true when we did know them to be true then it was likely that it was the theory and not commonsense which was in error. Thus Moore declared that he most definitely knew that there was a living human body which was his body; that this body had been born at a certain time in the past and had existed continuously since then though not without changes; that it had come into contact with and been at various distances from many other things also having shape and size in three dimensions; that the earth had existed for many years before he had been born; that his body had been always in contact with or not far from the surface of the earth, and so on. Moore said that not only did he know these things to be certainly true, but that all of us know such things to be certainly true as well. In short, the problem of proving the existence of knowledge of an external world had a simple and yet rigorous solution.
An analogous proof of the existence of moral knowledge has been given recently by Bambrough by way of the following example: “We know that this child, who is about to undergo what would otherwise be painful surgery, should be given an anaesthetic before the operation. Therefore, we know at least one moral proposition to be true.” Bambrough claims there can be no argument to refute this proposition which does not accept the logical existence of moral knowledge. For suppose we tried to disagree on whether the child should be given the anaesthetic; there might be any of a number of grounds for doing so — such as the parents forbidding it, or because it went against the religion of the child and the child refused it, or because it was wartime and there was a shortage of anaesthetic and the child needed only a stitch on the hand when there were more serious cases needing the same scarce anaesthetic, or because the child was a premature and underweight newborn and there was danger it would not survive an operation under anaesthetic, and so on. That is, because there were other values besides that of avoiding unnecessary pain which were considered relevant to the problem at hand. We would have entered into a substantive moral debate with Bambrough, and pari passu we would have implied that whether it was he who was right to say the child should be given the anaesthetic or we who were right to say the child should not be given the anaesthetic, there was a right answer to the question whether the child should or should not be given the anaesthetic in the circumstances. A logical thesis of the objectivity of moral knowledge needs to establish only that there is, in principle, a right answer to every question as to what ought to be done. And this can be maintained without having to make any claim of either having the answer oneself, or knowing with whom it lies, or even knowing whether the answer has been in fact found. All substantive normative argumentation might be seen to take place within, as it were, this kind of logical space and would presuppose its existence. Likewise it may be said that there is to every question, once it has been appropriately characterized, a true answer whether or not we happen to have found it. “If a question can be framed at all, it is also possible to answer it.”
An analogous proof can be and needs to be given of the existence of objective knowledge in economics. And just as Moore did not refer to relatively complex physical propositions such as whether the universe is or is not expanding, nor Bambrough to relatively complex moral propositions such as whether abortion is or is not justifiable in some cases, so too we do not have to refer to relatively complex propositions in economics such as = (X’X)-1 X’y ; or that if Uh is a continuous utility function from a non-empty compact subspace Bh of Xh to the real line then Uh(Xh) has a maximum; or that with identical consumer preferences and production techniques a difference in factor endowments between countries is sufficient to explain the existence and direction of trade, with a country tending to export those goods which used relatively intensively the relatively abundant factor, and factor prices tending to equalize across countries. Just as very simple and uncomplicated propositions are sufficient to prove the existence of objective knowledge in physics or ethics, so only very simple and uncomplicated propositions are sufficient to prove the existence of objective knowledge in economics. For example: “In any human society which is not tribal or nomadic, there will be households concerned with the terms at which they are able to trade some of what they own for some of what they want, and this may well be true of tribal and nomadic societies as well. Therefore, we know at least one proposition in economics to be certainly true.” This would be a weak substantive claim, which can be made even weaker if in place of a generalization we merely point to this particular person who happens to be concerned with the terms of trade and declare: “Here is a person who happens to be concerned with the terms at which he can trade what he has for what he wants; therefore, we know at least one proposition in economics to be certainly true.” Or perhaps weaker still: “Here is a London taxi driver who knows how to get his passengers from King’s Cross to Knightsbridge; therefore, we know at least one proposition in economics to be certainly true.” The sceptic who tried to deny any of these as examples (albeit simple examples) of economic knowledge will have to bring to bear reasoning and evidence; will have to refer to propositions which he would say are true of economics — for instance, that this person in particular or people in general are not really concerned with the terms of trade or that the taxi driver does not really know his roads and intersections. Like Moore’s sceptic of the senses or Bambrough’s moral sceptic, the sceptic of economics would help us to prove our point, namely, that there exists a right answer to the substantive question to which he and we were giving different answers — as well as to every other substantive question, once it has been adequately characterized, which happens to have divided economists, whether or not its answer has been actually found. Once again to maintain that there can be objective knowledge in economics — that is, certain and definite answers known to be true about substantive questions in an economic context — would not commit us to any claim of knowing with whom such knowledge lies or even to claiming any such knowledge for ourselves. The cool logical question may be answered affirmatively that there is objective knowledge and expertise in economics without commitment to any answer to the heated political question of knowing who should be thought of as an expert on a given economic matter.
What may be indicated by this line of argument is the self-refutation that seems to be inherent in the sceptical position. As Frege remarked: “If anyone tried to contradict the statement that what is true is true independently of our recognizing it as such, he would by his very assertion contradict what he had asserted; he would be in a similar position to the Cretan who said that all Cretans are liars. To elaborate: if something were true only for him who held it to be true, there would be no contradiction between the opinions of different people. So to be consistent, any person holding this view would have no right whatsoever to contradict the opposite view.” It is also the requirement of Socrates that to be engaged in rational thought or action what one may not do is contradict oneself: “And yet I think it better…. that the majority of mankind should disagree with and oppose me, rather than I, who am but one man, should… contradict myself.” I, who am but one man, carry myself within as a partner, so to speak, and my thinking consists of the silent conversation in which we engage. If I find nothing uncomfortable in being inconsistent in my thought, I am at odds with myself and perhaps may not be said to be engaged in thinking at all. Likewise I would not be saying what I meant if my words contradicted my thoughts, and I would not be doing what I said if my actions contradicted my words.

§3. Now it is the political question of course of who should be thought of as having knowledge, who should be thought of as being an expert, which leads everywhere to the most and the merriest discussion. As we have seen in Chapter 3, a moral scepticism may have been found appealing by economists because it has been believed to be a doctrine which protects both the individual and the integrity of science from dogmatic claims that knowledge and expertise derive necessarily and absolutely out of unique or special sources. Plato may be considered responsible for this, if only indirectly through the misunderstandings and corruptions of his philosophy which have occurred from medieval times onwards. Plato was no friend of the democracy of his time, and dreaded the rise of the charlatan to high office who might proceed in caprice and folly to ruin public institutions and bring about civil chaos and misery. In the parable of the ship of state, which is overrun by a mob of sailors who then constantly try to fight one another for its control, the warning is issued of how mob rule can lead inevitably to the adulation of fraud and the condemnation of knowledge and justice. And certainly if we grant it to be possible that power and authority will fail to coincide with competence and virtue and instead coincide with ignorance and vice, we would be agreeing in some measure with this lesson in Republic. Plato’s solution was to propose the coincidence of competence and virtue with power and authority, either by suitably re-educating those already in office or by replacing them with those already educated in the arts and sciences requisite of statesmanship.
With the first part of such a solution, the modern democrat will have no dispute. In the modern theory of economic policy advanced by Professor Tinbergen and his followers for example, the maker of economic policy is imagined as someone representing the democratic political process, who, while setting the weights to be given to the variables in the social objective function to reflect the popular choice, also elicits expert advice on the best means to achieve these desired ends. The expert economist is imagined as someone specifying the constraints, doing the calculations and recommending how the intended “targets” can be most expeditiously reached given the “instruments” at hand. The modern theory differs from Plato’s in saying the democratic choice deserves respect, and that it is not the place of the expert to gratuitously debate it; but the modern democrat would be fully and rightly in agreement with Plato that the policies of a state deserve to be as well advised and well informed, as judicious and as prudent as they can be made.
Even some of the second part of Plato’s solution need not be disputed by the modern democrat. For the notion that an incompetent or corrupt government deserves to be replaced by one expected to do better is after all a principal reason for holding elections in modern democracies (“throw the rascals out”). What will be disputed by the democrat is Plato’s view that genuine knowledge and wisdom ultimately cannot be the property of any more than a few people, specifically a closed and identifiable set of philosopher-kings. We have seen in the previous chapter a possible connection between Plato’s theory of knowledge and his ontology or theory of existence; now we may add that Plato’s political philosophy too may be connected to his ontology. For it is only the genuine lover of wisdom, the true philosopher, who is supposed to have access through his pure reasonings to the transcendental domain of ideal “forms”, and thus come to possess what amounts to not just objective knowledge but absolute and infallible knowledge as well. Hence if knowledge and authority are to be made to coincide in the interest of good statesmanship, it is such a person and only such a person in whom they should be united. We have seen that we can sever Plato’s link between the possibility of objective knowledge and his ontological idea of the existence of a transcendental domain; likewise a democratic political theory might sever the link between the existence of political wisdom and Plato’s idea that such wisdom must be the ultimate property of only a few. It seems likely that Plato misconstrued the character of knowledge in this respect, and especially the task the scholar and scientist have of elucidating it. Yet it is possible to preserve the merits of his thought even while we reject its mistakes.
For what would there be to prevent us from characterizing the concept of knowledge fully and thoroughly as a family resemblance concept — as a concept of indefinite variety of kind and instance? As something which is the ultimate property neither of the one or the few as the platonist tells us, nor of no one at all as the humean tells us, but rather of everyone — precisely as the democrat tells us? In the previous chapter it was proposed that the activity of reasoning need not be conceived of so narrowly as to require deduction and induction alone as its methods; it can and often does require and involve a third method as well which is the method of analogy, i.e., the comparison and contrast of a question to which we do not presently have an answer with questions on all sides of it to which we do have answers. The expert answer is merely the correct answer, the most reasonable and most justifiable answer. When Plato has Socrates asking questions like “Who would you go to for advice in medicine or carpentry or shipbuilding?” the most natural answers are the ones given by Socrates’s respondents “Why to the doctor and the carpenter and the shipbuilder of course!” We expect the doctor’s answer to a medical question to be better than our own because we expect the doctor to have encountered many similar cases before in his training and practice; in other words, to have had experience of a larger stock of similar cases, drawing upon which he is expected to come more quickly and more surely than we would to the right answer to the question at hand. Learning from experience in any context, whether removing an appendix or piloting an aircraft or driving an automobile or tailoring clothes or running a household or a business, involves facing and resolving an indefinite number of similar cases. We call someone an expert about something relative to his or her stock of experience, and the novice or apprentice or student may be the expert relative to the complete layman. Understood in this way, everyone may be thought of as in fact having some experience, some expertise, some knowledge. — And then, if we are all specialists at some things, we must be laymen at everything else. Knowledge and expertise, as well as the power of reason as the means of their acquisition, may be relative and not absolute quantitites, possessed in some measure by all and in complete measure by none. (And it is this perhaps, we might say with Kant, that accords to every individual, to every rational being, a certain dignity. )

§4. A line of argument of this sort may be developed further in two aspects, with more specific reference first to knowledge of a public and scientific kind, and secondly, to the private knowledge of the individual agent.
Not everyone who may want to know the answer to a given question may be able to answer it correctly or have access to the correct answer. “The ionic addition to unsymmetrical alkenes proceeds in such a way that the more positive part of the reagent attaches itself to the least substituted carbon atom of the double bond” is not something self-evident to everyone, yet it is as a matter of fact something quite elementary to the student of organic chemistry, who refers to it as “Markofnikoff’s Rule” and knows it to be true under particular conditions, predicting for example that hydrochloric acid reacts with ethanol to give ethyl chloride and water. But why should the non-chemist be obliged to accept it? If the chemist tells us we must do so merely because all chemists happen to accept it, we may tell him he is making an ex cathedra claim and begging the question, since what we wish to know is from where the community of chemists itself derives its authority. Indeed the distinction we have made between the logical question of the existence of knowledge and the political question of who is supposed to have knowledge, makes it evident that even if every scientist or expert or a whole community itself took something to be true or right, that would not by itself make it true or right. For it is clearly possible to imagine a world in which all those who were called scientists or experts about a given matter happened to be inadvertently or deliberately spinning myths and falsehoods; to be engaged in self-deception and deception on a vast scale; e.g. Lysenkoism or Nazi genetics — but there are many less obvious examples too. (At once the claim of Mark Blaug reported in Chapter 2 is seen to be untenable. Blaug says “methodological” judgements can be and have to be made objectively in science but similar objectivity is not possible about “ethical views about the desirability of certain kinds of behaviour and certain social outcomes.” But let a community unanimously have as its “ethical view” one which entails deception or self-deception on scientific matters, and Blaug’s position becomes helpless.) Rather it is precisely because it is possible for even a unanimous group of experts to be wrong that we have a reason, an objective reason, why freedom deserves to be valued. As J. S. Mill put it: “If all mankind minus one were of one opinion and only one person of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power would be justified in silencing mankind. Were an opinion a personal possession of no value except to the owner; if to be obstructed in the enjoyment of it were simply a private injury, it would make some difference whether the injury was inflicted on a few persons or on many. But the peculiar evil of silencing an opinion is that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth; if wrong, they lose what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of the truth, produced by its collision with error.” Where there is no freedom to ask what is the case, there may be answers but there will not be justifiable answers as to what the case is. In other words: freedom is necessary for objectivity. Just as Mill was clear that what is important is not only the formal presence of the freedom of dissent and criticism but its active exercise, so Karl Popper in more recent times has urged scientists to actively and continually try to refute their own and others’ conjectures about the world. It is only when we engage in conversation, in critical argument and discussion, in inquiry, whether within ourselves or with one another, that we are able to find out whether our beliefs are true or false, right or wrong, justifiable or unjustifiable, sound or unsound. If we are prevented by force or dissimulation from engaging one another in conversation, all we would be left with is the private reasoning in our own minds, as Orwell’s hero found in 1984: “The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command. His heart sank as he thought of the enormous power arrayed against him, the ease with which any Party intellectual would overthrow him in debate, the subtle arguments which he would not be able to understand, much less answer. And yet he was right! They were wrong and he was right. The obvious, the silly and the true had got to be defended. Truisms are true, hold on to that! The solid world exists, its laws do not change. Stones are hard, water is wet, objects unsupported fall towards the earth’s centre. With the feeling that he was speaking to O’Brien, and also that he was setting forth an important axiom, he wrote: ‘Freedom is the freedom to say two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.” (Also Solzhenitsyn: “Fastenko, on the other hand, was the most cheerful person in the cell, even though, in view of his age, he was the only one who could not count on surviving and returning to freedom. Flinging an arm around my shoulders, he would say: To stand up for truth is nothing! For truth you have to sit in jail!”)
When the authority of a scientific or scholarly or expert community is brought to bear in answering some question, it may be understood merely as a short hand way of saying the result happens to be the best that common reasoning under conditions of freedom has thus far been able to achieve. If we say Markofnikoff’s Rule is true because the community of organic chemists says it is or β^ = (X’X)-1 X’y is true because the community of econometricians says it is, we would mean that so far as is known by anyone who has inquired into the truth of these propositions, they happen to be true under given conditions. If the layman wishes to challenge them, the route remains open for examination and discussion. If the route comes to be closed by force or dissimulation, the layman correspondingly is not obliged to accept as genuine what is being claimed as expert knowledge, and the writ of the experts cannot be said to run; while if it is open for anyone to examine the gamut of reasoning and evidence from common ground right up to the question at hand then we would have another kind of instance in which knowledge may be thought of as objective and yet relative to the situation of the knower. Just as someone in Washington is expected to conclude Chicago to be to the left and not the right of New York, so someone in the position of the econometrician is reasonably expected to conclude β^= (X’X)-1 X’y, and anyone in the position of the chemist is reasonably expected to conclude Markofnikoff’s Rule to be true under given conditions.
With respect to dogmatism directed at the individual, our central notion may continue to be applied that knowledge can be objective and yet its objectivity relative to the situation of the knower. Just as the West is objectively due West relative to Istanbul but objectively due East relative to Honolulu, so it may be said about positive questions that there can be a true answer in every case without it having to be that what is true in one case is also true in another, and likewise about normative questions that there can be a right answer as to what should be done in every case or context circumstance without it having to be that what is right in one case or even right in most cases is also right in every case. Murder is wrong, yet tyrannicide may be an exception (the July 1944 conspiracy against Hitler); slavery is an evil, yet it may have been the lesser evil when ancient victors offered the vanquished slavery or death; the soldier must obey orders, yet mutiny or desertion may prevent what could be worse such as mass murder, and so on. The social proposals of Jefferson or Marx or Keynes might be found strange and irrelevant by the bushmen of the Kalahari or the tribal people of the Amazon not because either the tribesmen or the philosophers are foolish or dogmatic but because the contexts experienced by the one are not the contexts envisaged by the other. “Circumstances objectively alter cases.” It is possible to suppose normative questions may be answered objectively in each carefully described context, while stopping well short of the further and fatal step taken by the dogmatist of supposing such answers to be of an absolute or infallible or unexceptionable kind. We have seen the subjectivist epistemology may have had as its purpose to protect the individual from some or other dogmatic rule when the individual is in fact going to be faced with having to make particular judgements in particular circumstances. Yet this is a purpose which may be better fulfilled, without the inconsistencies of the subjectivist epistemology, within an objectivist theory which nevertheless recognized the diversity, the indefinite diversity, that there can be in individual experiences and circumstances. Indeed an argument in support of the traditional liberal thesis of the freedom of the individual has been that individual knowledge and expertise is precisely of this particular and relative kind, and not of a general or absolute kind. An observation common to a number of liberal thinkers has been that the evidence relevant to the making of individual decisions is most likely to be available to the agents whom they most concern, that the individual normally has a certain kind of privileged access to the data which most concern him. Professor Hayek especially has placed in the foreground of his thinking what he has called the “indisputable intellectual fact which nobody can hope to alter” that there is a “constitutional limitation of man’s knowledge and interests, the fact that he cannot know more than a tiny part of the whole of society and that therefore all that can enter into his motives are the immediate effects which his actions will have in the sphere he knows.” Aristotle, though not a liberal in the modern sense, had made a similar observation long before: “the whole account of matters of conduct must be given in outline and not precisely, as we said at the very beginning that the accounts we demand must be in accordance with the subject matter; matters concerned with conduct and questions of what is good for us have no fixity, any more than matters of health. The general account being of this nature, this account of particular cases is yet more lacking in exactness; for they do not fall under any art or precept but the agents themselves must in each case consider what is appropriate to the occasion, as happens also in the art of medicine or of navigation…. We do not deliberate even about all human affairs; for instance, no Spartan deliberates about the best constitution for the Scythians. For none of these things can be brought about by our own efforts. We deliberate about things that are in our power and can be done.” It is an observation made in modern microeconomics as well. When an assumption of rationality is said to require of the individual economic agent merely “correct calculations and an orderly personality”, it is meant that the agent ranks in a consistent way the alternatives he believes himself to be facing, and that the action taken is the highest ranked alternative given constraints of feasibility. The picture is of someone looking to the particular evidence and deliberating upon it, evaluating the alternatives believed to be faced, and doing what is judged to be the most appropriate in the circumstances. ‘Ought’ certainly follows from ‘is’ in such a model of man, in the straightforward sense that action and conduct follow from observation and thought — Aristotle would have claimed no more in arguing the objectivity of moral knowledge. If this is believed to be the set of alternatives and this the set of constraints and this the ranking then this is the right action, the “optimal” action — that which the agent ought to do. Change the factual ingredients of the individual case, and the right action may well change with it, suggesting again not that there is no such thing as a right action but that what happens to be the right action in one context or set of circumstances may not be so in another. In the theory of general equilibrium too, an economy would be formally defined by the preferences, resources, technologies, expectations, etc. of different economic agents, and it would be taken for granted an individual agent has available knowledge only of his own particular data (“informational privacy”). To account for the fact the individual agent knows only of a small fraction of all the tradeable goods there are, we may have to define the specific partition of goods and skills known to the agent as his particular “information structure”, so all of the agent’s other data would come to be defined only within this small and particular subspace. It then would be said that for the agent to be able to make decisions and act upon them it suffices that he knows in addition only of relative prices, i.e., the terms at which he can make his desired trades.
It is from positive observations of this sort that the normative liberal recommendations followed. For example, it has been from an observation that the individual agent has a “special knowledge of circumstances of the fleeting moment not known to others”, a “knowledge of particular circumstances of time and place”, that Hayek concludes “practically every individual has some advantage over all others because he possesses unique information of which beneficial use might be made, but of which use can be made only if the decisions depending on it are left to him or are made with his active cooperation.” Adam Smith had arrived at a similar conclusion from similar grounds: “What is the species of domestick industry which his capital can employ, and of which the produce is likely to be of the greatest value, every individual, it is evident, can, in his local situation, judge much better than any statesman or lawgiver can do for him.” A correct answer exists to every question. Smith’s question is: Who is likely to know best where an individual’s resources will earn their highest reward? The expert answer is just the correct answer. In Smith’s view, it is the individual himself who is normally the expert, perhaps the unique expert, because evidently it is he in his local situation who is most likely to know where his resources will come to earn their highest reward. In general, the liberal thesis of Adam Smith and J. S. Mill and Hayek and others gave objectivist grounds as to why the individual’s exercise of expertise should be valued and considered to be part of his “protected sphere”; viz., because it is usually the individual himself who knows most about his own ends and means while being ignorant of or indifferent about those of others.
Moreover, that the individual agent normally can be expected to have available to him the particular evidence relevant to his own decisions does not imply that what he actually comes to do is necessarily the right or optimal thing to be done. Nor does this in turn imply that he should be forced to do anything different. We know from ordinary experience that it is possible for our actual behaviour to be capricious, mercurial, myopic, foolhardy, thoughtless, profligate — in short, irrational. A person may even know something ought not to be done or be made a habit of and yet continue out of what Aristotle called akrasia or weakness of the will. Dostoevsky has Marameladov tell us how he is fully aware of the wretch he has become, that the more he drinks the more he feels it, that he is in search of not happiness but continued wretchedness. As the addict himself may be prepared to grant, behaving out of akrasia may no longer to be acting out of free and responsible volition. Of course the economist typically must ignore all this actual diversity in human behaviour and restrict his study for the sake of economy and analytical convenience only to what is purposeful in an economic context. Yet a potential error in the use of the concept of rationality in contemporary economic science would be to assume every human action must be an instance of it, when there is no such necessity and to make such an assumption would be to leave the concept without any force. As Frege said at one place: “It is only in virtue of the possibility of something not being wise that it makes sense to say ‘Solon is wise’. The content of a concept diminishes as its extension increases; if its extension becomes all-embracing, its content must vanish altogether.” If the concept of rationality is made to be all-embracing, its content must vanish altogether.
Furthermore, whether an individual believes what is mistaken or behaves irrationally is a different question from whether he or she should be forced to believe or do any different. This is a difference which has been blurred in the theory of social choice which will be discussed in Chapter 10, where dictatorship is defined as a situation in which one person alone believes x to be better than y and x and not y comes to be imposed on everyone. Certainly dictatorship may imply, among other things, the forced imposition of something over someone else; but in general whether someone should or should not believe or do something is quite a different question from whether he or she should be forced to believe it or do it. Whether it is only one or a few or a minority or a majority or all who happen to believe one alternative to be better than another, that would not by itself make one better than the other nor be a ground for others to be forced to believe the same. Whether a lesser or a greater evil happens to be avoided or a greater or lesser good promoted when a law forces everyone to do or not do something would be a question requiring the fullest possible description of the particular case for its answer; the question of whether something should or should not be done by an individual in a given context or set of circumstances deserves to be kept separate from it.

§5. Thus the Spell of Plato is broken when we recognize the pursuit of knowledge in any context to be a dynamic enterprise which necessarily requires freedom for its success. While we can know and do know many things, everything that we know or will come to know remains open to further inquiry, examination, discussion, and interpretation — open, that is, to fuller and more mature understanding. According to the received theory of economic knowledge, we are to suppose that while some positive considerations may be brought to bear in a normative discussion, a naked subjective conflict can still remain after there has been full and justifiable agreement over the evidence and the analysis. We have been taught to assume that the processes of common reasoning must have a finite limit. Yet even so, it is only supposed to be after all the positive questions have been answered, every relevant piece of evidence discovered, every piece of evidence tested for its relevance, every logical relation established, every detail in the vector of positive considerations (p1, p2,…, pω-2, pω-1) not only agreed upon but justifiably agreed upon; that Hume’s Second Law would declare there to be no further scope for reason, nothing more to be said or done. We have found in our study no grounds for supposing such a limit to be anything but a fiction. Instead we are in position to turn the tables on both sceptic and dogmatist and say to them: Surely there is always something further to be said, some logical argument to be improved, some contrast or comparison yet to be made, some relevant piece of evidence yet to be established. Even when two disputants seem entirely agreed upon all the positive considerations (p1, p2,…,pω-2, pω-1), and seem to be divided only over a sheer normative proposition like nω, surely there still remains pω to be discussed! The Spell of Hume upon modern economists can be finally broken when we see that while normative recommendations in economics or elsewhere may be objectively better or worse depending upon how sound or unsound are the positive arguments given in their support, there are no unquestionable normative recommendations — because there are no unquestionable positive grounds. A set of actions which are the means towards certain ends can be themselves the ends towards which other prior means have to be taken, as Aristotle said. Similarly the ends of certain actions can be the means towards certain others. The rational agent may be capable of deliberating not only as to the means towards certain ends but also as to the reasonableness of the ends themselves. We can accept the sound advice of the humean economist that it is a useful maxim to do these tasks in stages, without having to accept the dogmatic advice of the humean economist that deliberating about ends must sooner or later become dogmatic.

§6. If these should all seem quite simple and straightforward thoughts it will be all the more remarkable that in recent decades there seem to have been but two economists, Sidney Alexander and Amartya Sen, who have come to similar conclusions in their writing. In a very brief and troubled argument, Sen defined a “basic value judgment” as one held by a person “under all conceivable circumstances”. Sen admitted the humean position: only if a person’s judgement was “basic” could it be said to be beyond rational discussion. And then continued: while some judgements could be shown not to be “basic”, no judgement could be shown to be “basic”; there is “no sure-fire test” which can tell us whether the point has arrived where the scope of reasoning is allegedly exhausted. But Sen was ambivalent, and ended weakly with the statement “it seems impossible to rule out the possibility of fruitful scientific discussion on value judgments.” Sidney Alexander advanced the argument clearly and vigorously that if the foundations of economics are to be laid on positivist premises they would be necessarily inadequate. The positivist economist had seemed to shy away from normative discussion without in fact having done so. Indeed the positivist economist could not help not doing so, and besides need not do so, because once the scope of reason in the making of judgements has been properly characterized it is in fact seen to be potentially indefinite.
Many economists who have explicitly subscribed to the received theory of knowledge have nevertheless contradicted it in practice, and thereby stood on firmer epistemological grounds than their own theory would permit them to do. To take just two distinguished examples: when Professor Friedman recommends a monetary authority ought to have a steady and declared k% money supply growth rule, it is because he believes that it is the case that money is neutral outside the short run, that the quantity theory more or less accurately describes the demand for real money balances, that the lags entailed by discretionary policies are likely to thwart the intent of such policies, and so on. And Robbins for many years of his life was closely involved with the making of government policy in Britain, especially having to do with higher education. In such a capacity he would have sought to justify his evaluations on grounds of reasoning and evidence, and hardly would have said that only a free-for-all was ultimately possible over value judgements. There are these grounds on one side of the issue, and these on the other, he might have said, let us try to stand on the firmest possible. The same may be confidently expected to hold for every economist who has ever made a recommendation as to what ought to be done or not done by a government or a committee or a colleague or a student. Evaluations are grounded on reasons, and an evaluation is good or bad, judicious or capricious as the arguments and evidence which go to support it are true or false, reasonable or unreasonable, sound or unsound. Whenever two economists come to give different answers to the same normative question — who are therefore in genuine disagreement and not at cross-purposes — we may be confident they shall be found to be giving different answers to some or other positive question at the same time. When we disagree on whether the highway should be built, or whether there should be a balanced budget amendment, or whether the deficit or the money supply should be expanded, we shall also be found to disagree on whether the benefits expected of the highway will be exceeded by its costs, whether an amendment will hobble the legislature or discipline it, whether a deficit or an expanding money supply is likely to be inflationary or recessionary, and so on. In any actual public discussion, it is very unlikely that any serious economist will want to make use of, or be permitted by others to make use of, what he happens to be permitted to by the received theory of economic knowledge, which would be to foreclose all further discussion at any point he wishes saying “Look I like it and that’s that; if you don’t like it as well you can jump in the lake.”

§7. There is finally to be considered the position of Gunnar Myrdal and Paul Streeten, which has been widely believed to be opposed to the humean theory. In a representative statement Myrdal wrote: “There is no way of studying social reality other than from the viewpoint of human ideals. A ‘disinterested social science’ has never existed and, for logical reasons, cannot exist. The value connotation of our main concepts represents our interest in a matter, gives direction to our thought and significance to our inferences. It poses the questions without which there are no answers. The recognition that our very concepts are value-loaded implies that they cannot be defined except in terms of political valuations.” And Streeten writes: “The strict separation of ‘ought’ from ‘is’, which dominates modern liberal economic theory (and, in different versions, modern philosophy) is not, as it claims to be, morally neutral, nor simply a discovery of philosophical analysis. For no observation or logical analysis can discover that we ought to separate values from facts, or ends from means. No amount of description or deduction can show that we can fully analyze actual political and moral choices without introducing values into our analysis…. The philosophy which denies the logical connection between facts and values and deduces from this denial its own moral neutrality (suppressing a series of necessary unwarranted premises) suits admirably a liberal philosophy of tolerance, in which different political views have an equal right to exist (though it is not explicit whence it derives this claim).”
A sound epistemological premise may be seen here to be leading to an unsound epistemological conclusion. As Myrdal correctly observes, ethics does indeed help to represent our interest in a matter, give direction to our thoughts, significance to our inferences, to pose the questions without which there are no answers. And Streeten correctly hints at the paradoxes resulting from a cramped understanding of the is-ought dualism which have been brought to light in previous chapters. But both Myrdal and Streeten appear to take for granted with the humean economist, whom they think to be their enemy, that normative questions are only subjectively answerable, indeed that the answers to them might as well be equated with the personal interests of the respondent. Combine with this the correct observation of the involvement of values within the activity of reasoning, and we would be led with Myrdal and Streeten to conclude that there is no distinction — not even a working distinction — between facts and values, means and ends; that making such a distinction is merely a guise for the covert advocacy of a liberal economics; more generally, that the “main concepts” used by economists or other students of society must be being driven by the covert political motivations of their users — i.e., by “ideologies”. From trying to establish that some particular economic concepts may have had particular political overtones, Myrdal and Streeten would seem to slide into a position of saying political motivations permeate the study of man and society completely. Where the valid and useful line between the positive and the normative is exaggerated by the humean to be one which is impenetrable and ineradicable, Myrdal and Streeten over-react to erase it completely. The humean theory makes itself unable to judge the ends to which economic expertise is to be put, and so has a perverse if unintended consequence of confounding the economist as independent scholar or adviser with the economist as mercenary — disapproved of less because of the ends to which his special knowledge might be put than because he himself is indifferent as to whether these are foreseeably right or wrong, justifiable or unjustifiable, good or evil; where the humean theory provides respectability to the mercenary, the theory of Myrdal and Streeten may come to have an equally perverse if unintended consequence of providing respectability to the ideologue — solely and supremely concerned with the advancement or imposition of his own ideas. (“Thanks to ideology, the twentieth century was fated to experience evildoing on a scale calculated in the millions.”)
We are entitled to take a view less cramped than that offered by either theory.
First, the objectivity of economic knowledge is independent of the history of our controversies. The fact there may be widespread or even unanimous agreement among economists on a substantive positive or normative proposition does not by itself make the proposition true or right. Equally, the actual presence of deep and long standing substantive disputes between economists on the answers to positive or normative questions does would not constitute grounds for doubting the objectivity of economic inquiry, just as the presence of deep and long standing disputes on mathematical or scientific or medical questions does not constitute grounds for doubting the objectivity of mathematical or scientific or medical inquiry. We may hold certain and objective knowledge to be possible in economics even while we hold there to be no logical end to inquiry in the field.
Secondly, as noted in Chapter 4, it would be a cramped understanding of the is-ought dualism which leads to an absolute separation between the economist qua objective, rational, expert scientist, and the economist qua subjective, irrational, opinionated citizen and propagandist; the former allegedly concerned only with the ‘is’ questions of science, the latter allegedly with the ‘ought’ questions of dogma or prejudice. We have seen this to be, in effect, the same kind of absolute distinction as made in Plato’s theory between the special people of true wisdom and the ignorant populace at large, and that it suffers from the same internal weakness as well, of not being able to specify how such special people are supposed to be identified. Instead, we are entitled to take a view that the expertise of the economist — like that of the doctor, scientist, historian, writer or mathematician — is relative and not absolute in character. Its authority derives from and rests upon the weight of reasons in its support; upon the extent to which it can be made to stand, or has been subject to and has withstood rational criticism. Where force or dissimulation happens to prevent the possibility of criticism, we may not claim authority for our pronouncements, while if we are ourselves party to the prevention of criticism by force or dissimulation, then we lose by the same token our credentials as experts with special knowledge of the question at issue.
Thirdly, the expertise of the economist, like that of the scientist or the doctor, does not ipso facto exempt him from the constraints of ordinary moral reasoning to which everyone else is subject. The fact we are trained within a particular department of enquiry is hardly sufficient license for us to ignore or deny the central moral distinctions between right and wrong, good and evil, which we as rational beings are in general capable of making. Indeed the true/false distinction and the right/wrong distinction may be thought of as running in close parallels within the very activity of reasoning. If something is true then it ought to be believed (normally). Thus Peirce was to regard “Logic as the Ethics of the Intellect”. And Frege was to remark “Logic has a closer affinity with ethics. The property ‘good’ has a significance for the latter analogous to that which the property ‘true’ has for the former.” While Wittgenstein spoke of “the hardness of the logical ‘must'”. “A proof shews us what ought to come out.” “What I am saying comes to this, that mathematics is normative. But ‘norm’ does not mean the same thing as ‘ideal’.”
In sum, our broad strategy has been to show common knowledge to be a sufficient antidote for scepticism, while freedom to be a necessary antidote for dogmatism. We are justified in relying upon our commonsense beliefs in the objectivity of science, yet the history of the progress of science has been a history of the discovery of errors in our beliefs, requiring us to place as much importance upon the ubiquity of error as upon the possibility of knowledge. In turn this shows there to be perfectly objective grounds for valuing freedom, namely, that it is necessary for the progress of our knowledge and understanding and rationality itself, in all the manifold diversity that these concepts may be understood. We are also justified in relying upon our commonsense beliefs that some things are objectively right and others objectively wrong, without having to deduce how we know what is right or wrong in a particular case from some or other allegedly unquestionable, ultimate, moral prime or principle. What may be right or optimal in one case or context or circumstance simply may not be so in another. Furthermore, what we believe to be right in a given context, just as what we might believe to be true, is itself open to question and discussion. Again it is the active exercise of freedom which should be the antidote to dogmatism. The degree of authority resting in a claim of expertise in a given context depends squarely on the weight of reasons in its support and the degree of rational criticism it would be possible for it to successfully withstand. Where freedom is suppressed, whether deliberately or accidentally, whether in a grand or a petty tyranny, and claims to expertise are prevented from being examined for errors with a fine-tooth comb, there would be no genuine authority to be acknowledged.

PART III

7. An Example from Microeconomics

“EXAMPLES are the final food of thought”, and in this third part of the book we shall examine a diverse set of examples and applications with a view to illustrating the theory of economic knowledge advanced in the previous chapters. If this and the received theory of economic knowledge are to be tested for their relative merits, then we may wish the scope of the testing to extend to all manner of discussions. We begin in this chapter with a brief example in microeconomics; specifically, an actual debate spanning about ten or fifteen minutes which occurred not long ago on public television in the United States. Although the subject was of an economic nature the participants were not economists or academics as such; the debate is offered here as representative of similar non-technical discussions on concrete subjects which make up perhaps the bulk of actual discussion on economic policy in any society, and from which the university economist is sometimes far removed. We shall be returning in later chapters to the more abstract kinds of discussions which are to be found in university economics.
The debate to be considered had to do with a decision of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in December 1984 to require an increase in the charge of purchasing access to the long distance network. The rate was to increase by one dollar per month in 1985 and another dollar per month in 1986, in the expectation of revenues increasing by one billion dollars in the first year. One participant represented the FCC and was called upon to explain and justify the decision, the other represented the Consumer Federation of America and was called upon to express and explain his criticism of the decision. The two moderators were Mr. James Lehrer and Mr. Robert MacNeil.
LEHRER: Here to explain why the FCC did what it did is Albert Halprin, chief of the agency’s common carrier bureau, which oversees telephone rates among many other things. First, why was this charge necessary?
HALPRIN: Well, the FCC took an important step today designed to preserve the viability of the nation’s public telephone network and to prevent the division of society into a set of information haves — the very large companies, high tech companies — and information have nots — everybody else who will never have any choice but the public telephone network.
LEHRER: Now, how does the one dollar fit into all of that?
HALPRIN: The one dollar… covers the cost of connecting every telephone customer to the entire network… [as] part of an attempt to price the public telephone network in a way that will not discourage large companies from using it. The FCC believes that the public network serves almost everybody at the cheapest cost
LEHRER: What do you mean by “the public network”?
HALPRIN: Well, we have in place a tremendous public telephone system. It connects every subscriber to almost everybody inside the country and in the world. It makes a lot of sense to have everybody use this big, integrated, switchable network, because it’s there. Up until now we’ve developed a system in which we’ve charged heavy users of that public telephone network a much, much higher price than it actually costs them to use the network…
LEHRER: You mean business customers, mainly ?
HALPRIN: Well, in fact residential customers, who are heavy users of long distance service, have been paying to subsidize businesses that do not use long distance service. The key factor here is the people who make a lot of long distance calls have been asked to pay a price that’s much more expensive than it would cost them to go around the public network and go over what are called bypass facilities….
LEHRER: What was the FCC’s conclusion as to what would be the consequence of not imposing this dollar fee?
HALPRIN: Well, the FCC has been looking at what has been taking place, and we have found an increasing number of large users bypassing the network, either through building special facilities or through ordering new special line types of facilities, both of which are taking away from the network that serves you and me at home.
LEHRER: And why is this so awful?
HALPRIN: Well, for two reasons. The first, of course, is that those are the people who are paying subsidies now to keep your rates and my rates below the actual cost. If they drop off the network, that goes away. But even more important than that, if they drop off the telephone network, the telephone wires that are in place serving them now will not only not be used, but will be paid for by you and me, by those people who have no choice and will never have any choice but using the public network.
LEHRER: Thank you. Robin?
MACNEIL: For a very different perspective we turn to Gene Kimmelman, legislative director of the Consumer Federation of America, which represents more than two hundred consumer groups nationwide. Mr. Kimmelman, I know you object to this new charge. Can you tell us why?
KIMMELMAN: Well, we don’t think the access charge is necessary to keep the public network together, and nor do we think it’s equitable. We’ve found in studies of rate increases this past year that residential customers are now paying $2 billion more for basic telephone service. When you take that additional billion dollars in June 1985 for access charges and add them onto recent rate increases, we think that we are losing affordable phone service for the average American household.
MACNEIL: And are people dropping off?
KIMMELMAN: Yes. We found that in 1984, using a model put together by the Bell Companies, that over two million people will do without phone service by June 1985 because of the rate increases that they experienced in 1984.
MACNEIL: And how many more people do you estimate will do without phone service because of this new, by 1986, $2 a month charge?
KIMMELMAN: Well, at this point it’s difficult to predict, but we think at least a million people, if remedial action is not taken by state commissions or by the FCC to try to provide some special help, particularly to low income people.
MACNEIL: I see. How many more did you say again? I’m sorry. How many more?
KIMMELMAN: At least another million. It’s difficult to say.
MACNEIL: So that would be three million altogether who would have dropped off, you mean?
KIMMELMAN: Right. We already have over three million households that do not have phone service, and the number is growing as the rates increase. And this is an unnecessary result of phone company pricing changes, and the FCC seems to be buying into this new scheme….
MACNEIL: Well, what about [Mr. Halprin’s] point that if you don’t provide some incentives for big users, they’re going to go and set up their own networks to the detriment of the system that is already in place?
KIMMELMAN: Well, I believe it’s a legitimate concern. I do not believe it is occurring quite as much as the FCC believes. And even if it is occurring, I think there are other ways of repricing long distance service that will keep everyone on the network without having to shift those costs onto the average residential customer….
LEHRER: Mr. Halprin, let’s go through some of Mr. Kimmelman’s points. First of all, this is going to result – the fee, the access charge itself is going to result in another million people losing their phone service.
HALPRIN: Well, it won’t, for two reasons. The first, as Mr. Kimmelman mentioned, that rather than tracking and seeing that two million people had dropped off the network as a result of past increases, they used a model which predicted that two million people would drop off. The FCC has
LEHRER: Wait a minute, wait a minute. You’re saying that two million haven’t dropped off?
HALPRIN: That’s exactly right.
LEHRER (to KIMMELMAN): You’re saying two million have?
KIMMELMAN: We’re saying from the best numbers that we have available from the industry, conservative estimates are that at least that many people are giving up phone service, yes.
LEHRER: Well, because of the way
KIMMELMAN: Because of the 1984 rate increases.
HALPRIN: The FCC adopted a report today which was not based upon models, which are things you plug into a computer; [but which was instead] based upon studies and the actual numbers of people who are taking telephone service. It’s the Universal Service Report. There has not been any type of dropoff like this. In fact, as with most other commodities, each year there have been increases in telephone service….
LEHRER: I don’t think we can resolve this specific point, but this is awfully confusing. I mean, one of you is saying very clearly one thing and the other the other. I mean, this is a matter of fact, is it not? People either have phones or they don’t have phones.
KIMMELMAN: Yes, it is a matter of fact. The important thing to remember is the FCC is moving ahead in imposing these charges and now deciding just to start studying it. No, we do not have precise, absolute figures of the names of the people who have given up phone service, but we have the phone companies’ own model that projects what will happen. I seriously doubt that it’s an exaggeration of what has happened. I would be happy if the FCC would prove us wrong, because we want everyone to have a phone.
LEHRER (to HALPRIN): Why don’t you do that? Why don’t you go out and find out how many
HALPRIN: We have. The FCC adopted a report today which is not based upon computer models but upon an actual survey of what’s taken place, and there has not been a loss of universal service….
LEHRER: What do you say to Mr. Kimmelman’s other point in his conversation with Robin that there are other ways, if you really wanted to ensure the integrity of the national system, there are other ways to do it?
HALPRIN: I don’t believe that’s correct. I’ve taken a brief glance at Mr. Kimmelman’s report, and his answer is to
LEHRER: You have a report too, Mr. Kimmelman?
KIMMELMAN: Yes we do.
LEHRER: Okay.
HALPRIN: It uses a lot of computer models and very few facts. But it basically says that they agree that it’s necessary to keep the large customers on the network by reducing their rates, and what they propose is to jack up the price of long distance service for you and me and the people who only make one or two calls. We don’t think that can be done. We don’t think it’s feasible. We don’t think it’s fair.
LEHRER (to KIMMELMAN) Is that your solution? Has he accurately characterized your solution?
KIMMELMAN: I cannot say he has accurately characterized it. What I can say is we spread the costs of the public telephone network, I believe more equitably, among everyone who uses it. We do not believe the bulk of those costs should be on the local ratepayer. They should be spread equitably among everyone who benefits from the existence of the public network. That means keeping more costs on the long distance users, spreading them slightly differently than is currently done….
LEHRER (humourously): Gentlemen, I’m sure glad we cleared all this up tonight. Thank you very much.”
The reader may agree that the first thing that may be said about this debate is that it is one of good quality. It succeeds remarkably well in its purpose of advising and informing the observer of the matter at hand, not of course in any final or absolute way with every possible consideration having been brought up, but adequately enough for at least a number of the pertinent facts and issues to have been raised in the span of a few minutes. The purpose of the discussion is a limited one, and its fulfillment must be judged accordingly. Moreover, it is all four participants who contribute to this quality, protagonists and moderators jointly. The protagonists are willing and able to address the same questions and so come to define what correctly may be called disagreement, in which contrary answers are given to the same questions, rather than be at cross purposes resulting from one participant answering a different question from the other. There is also little or no stone-walling or prevaricating or obfuscating on either side; and of course it is the moderators who contribute here by asking the precise questions that they do, with a view to creating as much common ground as possible upon which the argument may take place. This conversation, brief and mundane as it was, is quite sufficient to show how the process of critical inquiry is a comm