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Dictionnaire des conventions

Philippe Batifoulier
Franck Bessis
Ariane Ghirardello
et al.


Incitations financières

Thoughts on the vacuum in American economic thought and the capacity of Conventionalist economics to fill it

Michael J. Piore

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The financial crisis of 2008 combined with the election of Barak Obama seemed to create an opening in American politics for a new approach to economic policy. In the end, that moment has proved disappointing. But it provides a context in which to assess the conventionalist theory as an alternative.

The nature of the problem can only be understood by recognizing the framework which dominated American policy going into the crisis and the election of 2008. That framework is captured in summary fashion by the term “neo-liberal”. The term is a shorthand for a framework of thought which has two key components. First is the competitive market as understood in standard economic theory as the template for social and economic organization. The second is an understanding of human behavior as motivated by narrow self interests which can generally be captured by the maximization of monetary gains. Numerous particular exceptions are recognized to this general proposition, but precisely because the...


Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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