American Progressivism and the Rise of the Economist as Expert
35 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2006
Date Written: July 2006
The original progressives were not that progressive: they proposed eugenic remedies for the immigrants, women, blacks and mental defectives they blamed for low wages, promoted an illiberal vision of women's economics interests, endorsed survival of the fittest doctrine (so long as the state chose the fittest), advocated imperial adventures, and embraced the scientifically managed corporation. A more complete portrait of the progressives recognizes this illiberal strain in progressive economic reform and its origins in anti-individualism, statism, social efficiency, and planning by scientific experts. The progressive vision of economic reform - what I call expertocracy - is contrasted with John Bates Clark's neoclassical alternative, market failure remedy.
Keywords: Economic reform, expertise, efficiency, planning, progressivism
JEL Classification: B10, B13, B15
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation