Against the Stream: Critical Essays on Economics by Gunnar Myrdal

By Gunnar Myrdal

Opposed to The movement: severe Essays On Economics, via Myrdal, Gunnar

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To go further and try critically to characterize in general terms the huge literature in this field would be a Herculean task, but I shall nevertheless make a few points. As I have recently been devoting myself to quite different problems, I have to base my observations on my routine cursory study of journals and quite a few new books. In accommodating to the obvious conflict between main goals, the general tendency has been to give little importance to the first goal but rather to accept as normal and "Stagflation" • § 6 27 natural that prices should go up, though not too rapidly.

They came to include and, in fact, elaborated the doctrine of equality and actually afforded theoretical "proofs" of it. The proofs do not stand scrutiny. Indeed, what distinguishes valuations from beliefs and theories about reality is that they cannot be proved or disproved, but merely exist as social facts. This has never been honestly recognized, at least not by the economists who still labor with a value theory and a welfare theory, which at root are always metaphysical in the sense of the Enlightenment philosophies.

These same attitudes of people in all social classes are driving forces behind inflation, though at the same time all cornplain about the rising prices (Chapter 11, Sections 11 and 12). Neither a higher "quality of life" nor a stable value of the currency can be achieved without a rather radical change of people's attitudes. The rationality of a broad settlement among all groups 32 CHAPTER 2 in a nation where, under recognition of the demand for greater equality, the cravings for higher incomes are tempered, is obvious.

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