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I joined yesterday, despite some misgivings.

Let me note in regard to Pete's remarks a distinction that David Colander and Ric Holt and I made in our 2004 book, The Changing Face of Economics. We argued that there is an intellectual issue and a sociological one involved here. "Orthodox" is an intellectual category, neoclassical economics if you will; "mainstream" is a sociological one, the people in charge of the top departments, journals, funding sources, and so on.

OTOH, "heterodox" is both, anti-orthodox intellectually and not in power sociologically. It is this duality that leads to much confusion, and the often annoying phenomenon at self-syled heterodox sessions at conferences of people railing against "mainstream orthodox" economics, when there are quite a few non-orthodox mainstream types out there running around making such rants look kind of silly.

As far as I can see, "heterodox" means collectivism, dirigisme and redistribution.

Barkley - could you articulate some of the misgivings?

btw - I was in your neck of the woods this past weekend, visiting a friend just outside of Harrisonburg. I always love driving down 81. Much nicer than 95 :)


I have never been much of a fan of their journal, which was originally called the Post-Autistic Economic Review. Much of the complaining has seemed to me to be somewhat off-base and suffering from exactly the sort of thing I described happening in some whinier heterodox sessions.

The French members seem to be mostly from the Conventions School, which is in a big rivalry with the Regulation School, but much less known in English language literature than the Regulation School, which most people think is about regulating industries, or something of the sort, which it is not.


Austrians are generally counted as heterodox, even if Pete does not like the term, but it is true that the majority of heterodox groups are more on the left side of things.

So what is the regulation school about?

Mathieu, Qeul horreur, un francais qui ne sait pas l'ecole du Regulation? Quel catastrophe!

The founder of the school is Robert Boyer, and one can get details from an interview in our sequel to the Changing Face book, European Economics at a Crossroads (2010, Elgar). I would describe it as a sort of historically oriented institutionalist approach to comparative economic systems, particular the various forms of capitalism. "Regulation" comes from cybernetics and systems theory and refers to "how do various components of economic configuration achieve a form of structural stability" (to quote Boyer from the interview). They often talk about "Fordism," which Pete B. warns is always a sign of statist dirigiste tendencies, although it competes with "Toyotism" and "Udevallism" (Swedish), among other forms of capitalism.

The linguistic issue is that what in English we call "regulation" would be properly translated back into French as "reglementation." A major theme of our book is about the matter of how certain distinctive schools are being wiped out with the spread of English in economic discourse in Europe, including both the Regulation and Conventions schools, the latter having even less presence in English language lit than the Regulationists, who at least had some allies for awhile in the now defunct "Social Accumulation" school of the early 1980s (led by the late David Gordon, with Sam Bowles somewhat friendly).

The Conventions school,led by Olivier Favereau of Nanterre, emphasizes micro more than macro and also has a strong focus on moral and normative questions, with a system needing to "justify" itself in order to survive. Among the founding WEA members, Favereau is one, with Andre Orlean also a Conventionsalist (if I can coin that term). Bruno Amable has his feet in both camps, and Frederic Lordon is more of a Regulationist.

BTW, there is a short hallway in the ENS complex on the Boulevard Jourdan in Paris that contains offices in close proximity of each other of Boyer, Orlean, John Bates Clark Award winner Emmanuel Saez, and Marxist Dominique Levy.

Well, I keep receiving invitations to their conferences on the evils of liberalism and individualism and how deregulation and G.W.Bush are responsible for the financial crisis etc., so when I read that they're not about regulating industry it makes me curious (and skeptic). Some of the stuff I've read from Orléan and Aglietta was interesting I thought, but then, maybe because I don't understand their method and what they're trying to achieve, a lot of the regulation school stuff just seems like unscholarly left-leaning political rambling. A lot of what they write is basically proselytizing on (intentional?) mis-characterization of whoever economist is too free-market for their tastes, with multi-page comments on short quotes taken out of context, etc. But I'm from Aix-en-Provence and we're really cut off from those guys. Honestly I thought Orléan was the figurehead of regulationism, so that tells you how little I know about this school of thought.

Boyer identifies the PhD thesis of Aglietta as the starting point for Regulation. Orlean came out of the Regulation School, but went in more to the Conventions School. There certainly is plenty of dirigiste babbling going on in some of the stuff of both schools, particularly when the Conventions people go all moralistic.

Okay, Pete, I signed up.


"The Association will be democratically structured so as not to allow its domination by one country or one continent."

How is that going to work?

Update: After only seven days the WEA has 3,560 members from 110 countries. These include 289 from Australia.

It is necessary to understand thet the final objective of Economics is to serve people, specially poor people. It is Ethics; how life of less advantageous people are transformed in a positive sense through economic process. Without doubt, it starts with the Education such that all people have the same opportunities.
"Talents are equally distributed between rich and poor people".

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