Dilemmae and Arguments Surrounding Economic Policy
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The paper offers a handful of reflections on economic policy based on personal experiences of the author who held the high-level government posts in 2001-2005. In his presentation of these reflections, he is trying to reconcile the roles of a participant and an observer. The starting point is the question: What does economic policy consist of? The question is not answered explicitly. First of all, it depends on the adopted understanding of and approach to the economy. Two extreme attitudes are possible. At one end of the spectrum, the economy is construed as a system of objectivised interrelationships, an object to be controlled by appropriate fine-tuning of key parameters that regulate economic relationships (understood in terms of objects). The politician-economist's role in this respect is similar to that of a physician: it starts with analysing the patient's condition, which leads to the diagnosis of the ailment and finally to the application of a proper therapy. The point is to maintain a state of equilibrium in the economy, as is the case with the patient's body. At the other end of the spectrum, there are those who treat the economy as a system of institutionalised behaviours and social reactions. In this approach, the politician-economist must decide which behaviours to strengthen or encourage, and which ones to discourage or eliminate. Thus, the politician does not influence the economy through its parameters but through institutions, does not solve equations but problems. He does not strive to achieve a state of balance, but to control the process, the development of the economy. One of the conclusions that follow from the reflections shared in this article is that present-day economic policy must respect a number of profound intellectual, political and institutional changes related to the operation of the state.
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