Has the U.S. Economy Really Recovered? A Curmudgeonly Answer

12 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2016

See all articles by Richard E. Wagner

Richard E. Wagner

George Mason University - Department of Economics; George Mason University - Mercatus Center

Date Written: July 29, 2016


This essay stems from an invitation from the editor of The Global ANALYST (Hyderabad) to prepare a 2500 word response to the question: “Has the U.S. Economy Really Recovered?” The curmudgeonly character of my response speaks to different orientations toward the economic theory of public policy. Most economists identify economics as enabling them to act as policy mechanics, similar to J. M. Keynes’s musing about dentistry. In contrast, I explore the question from the orientation of complex systems theory, explaining in the process that policy action doesn’t so much overcome social problems as it creates them. Such events as the so-called crisis of 2008 are intelligible outcomes of an institutional framework where public ordering has come to occupy the foreground of social action, with private ordering becoming relegated to the background.

Keywords: policy mechanics; complexity theory; ideology; non-logical action; tectonic political economy

JEL Classification: D21, D72, E58

Suggested Citation

Wagner, Richard E., Has the U.S. Economy Really Recovered? A Curmudgeonly Answer (July 29, 2016). GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 16-28, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2816059 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2816059

Richard E. Wagner (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://mason.gmu.edu/~rwagner/

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

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Arlington, VA 22201
United States

HOME PAGE: http://ppe.mercatus.org/scholars/richard-wagner

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