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Poli Sci 2J03 - March 24, 2014

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McMaster University
Political Science
Robert O' Brien

Started on: 3/24/14 9:19 AM 2014-03-24 C LASS N OTES FOR : P OLI S CI 2J03 McMaster University, Winter 2014 M ONDAY , M ARCH 24, 2014 Keynes VS. Hayek - Video “Fear the boom and bust” - There’s a debate between these t wo economics trying to explain financial crisis - “You need to invest when the economy slows down” - “You do not need to invest because then you will create a boom and a bust” The way in which ideas last beyond the person that articulates them - Ideas about ideas o Relationship to material world? o What is the relationship between ideas and the world that we exist in? o Do ideas shape the world or the world shapes ideas? o Is there a relationship between the world and ideas o Theoretical approaches to this problem o Epistemic communities § Scientific communities that have advanced expertise and these influence the material world § Ozone layer! § CLIMATE CHANGE • Epistemic community, on the panel on climate change that make recommendations about this problem • But little action is tak en to address this problem • It comes under political attack and challenges • Neutrality is undermined o Constructivism § Idea that the social world is made by people § Those ideas shape how people behave § Liberal economic theory talks about “Preferences” § The idea that the economy is rational, people are rational, they have preferences and go through a rational preference of identifying it. § Preferences are NOT given; we have to go through a process of articulating what these preferences are. These will change over t ime! § Preference for equality, social justice, etc. § Think of the differences in development index and the human development index! -- these two express a different form of preference. How do we construct these preferences? § Constructivist literature tries t o think about HOW these are created. o Neo-gramscian, culture, interests § Named after Antonio Gramsci • Who spent a decade in prison • Idea -- some sort of relationship between ideas and interests. • These are not free floating categories • Ideas à Serve particular interests and these create ideas Angie © McMaster University 1 Winter 2014 Started on: 3/24/14 9:19 AM • Cultures are related to different kinds of ideas • Working class culture VS. Capitalist culture • Workers have different institutions than those who are better of! o Post-structuralism (interpretive constructivism) § Their view is that there is no reality without ideas § Everything that we do is conditioned about our thoughts about what things are § If we are going down the list, we go from “types of theories where ideas have a role” all the way down to views that ideas are absolutely central and the most important thing in the construction of social life. § Range of perspectives. o Ideas become embedded in institutions § We can think of this in two ways, we have different institutions that embody different ideas § WTO - embodies ideas of free trade § IMF - neo-liberal ideas § UNESCO - equity ideas, have different mandates and embody ideational positions § Contradictory ideas, such as American trade law. • American trade law - developed over 150 years. • These different laws embody different ideas about f ree trade and protectionists. § This is why we might see CONFLICTS in different institutions § UNICEF à Critics IMF structural programs BECAUSE of different ideas! IDEAS and the GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS (2008) - How did things go so wrong? o Dominance of ideas ab out self-regulation o These dominant said that markets should take care of themselves § “The primary source of regulatory effectiveness has always been private traders being knowledgeable of their counterparties…” (Greenspan 1998” § That gov’t should be the LAST resort. The best way is the knowledge of private traders regarding how the market is OPERATING. - Why were the old ideas so dominant and so recently? o Previous financial disasters in 1929 -- that lead to the great depression o We were not unaware that DE -REGULTATION could lead to these outcomes o Galbraith - there are these crashes, re-regulation, and then people forget the lessons of the financial collapse. It takes about two generations before people forget these ideas. o New Technology (computers) ideas (mathe matical models) solve prob
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