Economists, Experts, and Politicians

By Bernard Maris

English

How can we explain the fact that economics, which is characterized by impressive logic and unquestionable advances, is also marked by more theoretical inabilities and self-imposed limitations, and that, at the same time, the power of economists and the scope of the discourse of economics are gaining in importance? Through the notions of legality, legitimacy, certainty, science, and public opinion, the article shows that political power plays on uncertainty of opinion and that the role played by experts as mediators between politicians and public opinion is essential in managing this uncertainty. The paper also demonstrates that this self-limitation in economics (or even its self-destruction) reflects the triumph of the economics of experts. In their scientific work, economists must deconstruct the economic reality proposed by the experts while also deconstructing the model used by the politicians. This is a central part the economist’s mandate as both economist and scientist.

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