Elite appropriation of economics – the case for (r)evolutionary political economy

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.

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Recent comments


5 comment

  • Stephen I. Ternyik says:

    This is a very (!) information-rich (****) paper and it points to the right direction of research: emancipatory vs. non-emancipatory economics. The reference to Singapore (p.18) and similar land-value taxations systems (e.g. HK) clearly demonstrates that free economic activity can not be equated with our current ‘rentier economics’. In short, I support the intention of the author to move ‘professional economics’ to ‘scientific economics’, i.e. a science that it worth its name and ‘stands on common ground’. To be more precise, the rentier and the speculator will receive their fair share of the ‘social product’, because we need them to point to systemic mal-functions. However, if economic science will be applied, ‘they will not take the whole cake home’.

    • Deniz Kellecioglu says:

      Dear Stephen, thank you for your comments. However, I am not able to understand the second part of your comments. This is because I do not use any of the terms in quotation marks, and do not promote “scientific economics”. My account aims to outline a more modest but practical agenda for economic methodology. Science can be interpreted in so many ways. I do not share the classic and strict understanding of science promoted by for instance Karl Popper. My stance in the paper is more open-ended, while emphasising an emancipatory approach to conduct economics. I hope this clarifies for potential readers.

      • Stephen I. Ternyik says:

        Dear Deniz ! Many thanks for clarifying your literary intention for potential readers. Best: stephen

  • Gerson P. Lima says:

    Deniz, I share with you the idea that “the most powerful misappropriate economics mainly through their political, economic and ethical power, together with allied economists” and commanded by central banks´ shareholders. I also agree with Stephen Ternyik that “they will not take the whole cake home if economic science will be applied”. Accordingly, in my Conference paper I estimated the aggregate supply and demand of the United Stated and demonstrated that the monetary policy may be at the root of this misappropriation for it causes GDP to fall (= less employment and lower workers´ wages) and prices to raise (= more capitalists´ rent).
    My point is that we need a new economic science that heterodox economists agree with and that this new science must be tested against the real world. The starting point of this new economic science seems to be a Real World Supply and Demand Theory that allows for the measure of the economic policy performance. I hope that a dependable real world economic theory will allow us to think about replacing the fake manipulated neoclassical doctrine that states the supply and demand interaction as a device that assures economic equilibrium at “best” situations, thus leaving room for the deleterious monetary policy. I think that perhaps the present prejudice against the notion of supply and demand may be seen as one of the “factors that obstruct or construct (r)evolutions in economics”. By the way, mainstream monetarist economics produced a lot of prejudices we must face and abolish.

    • Stephen I. Ternyik says:

      The mentioned politics of money bends the arc of economic distribution towards the ‘rentier elite’ and curbs overall human productivity, in terms of capital growth (lower wages/higher rents) ; your idea of a research group on real world demand/supply sounds very interesting, in terms of ’emancipatory economics’. I will read deeper into your paper, to better understand the guiding economic formulae. Deniz seems to aim at participatory economics which is very close to your empirical arguments on ‘new tools’ (for an age old ‘cake’ problem).