Elite appropriation of economics – the case for (r)evolutionary political economy
Economic Affairs Officer, Macroeconomic Policy Division, United
Nations Economic Commission for Africa, P.O. Box 3001, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Please cite the paper as:
Deniz Kellecioglu, (2016), Elite appropriation of economics - the case for (r)evolutionary political economy, World Economics Association (WEA) Conferences, No. 1 2016, Capital Accumulation, Production and Employment:, 15th May to 15th July 2016
This paper attempts to understand the ways in which power operates within the economics profession (problem orientation) in order to pinpoint requirements to address the identified problems. The findings suggest that the most powerful (mis)appropriate economics mainly through their political, economic and ethical power, together with allied economists. In employing these power structures and mechanisms, they are able to justify and maintain the status quo in terms of economics and the economic system. Therefore, it is concluded that it is essential to disempower the dominant economic elites in order to have a chance on (r)evolutions in economics and the economic system. However, such a process has to be coupled with processes that are emancipatory and empowering for the non-elite groups given the subjugatory character of power tools. In doing so, we offer a research approach based on a dual intentionality: descriptive and prescriptive (solution-oriented and emancipatory). The factors that obstruct (r)evolutions in economics are also indirectly pointed out as research areas in the pursuit of actually supporting (r)evolutions in economics. The same approach is possible to apply to the dominant economic system. In addition, it is also intended to be practical with a relatively short-term perspective, aiming to trigger a constructive transitional period, rather than pointing out permanent ideal conditions. The approach is labelled ‘(r)evolutionary political economy’. In this manner, this paper ends with three overlapping recommendations. The first one is research-oriented – to conduct more research in about factors that obstruct or construct (r)evolutions in economics. The second one is policy- oriented – to generate policy proposals that tackle those obstructive factors, and that expand those constructive factors. The third one is activist-oriented – to actively seek to change the economic system within which dissenting economists and scholars operate within. By pursuing these three lines of action, we may not only generate knowledge on (r)evolutions, but also contribute to the higher likelihood of (r)evolutions.