Does economics matter?

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:, or follow me on Twitter.


Rightist politics also become more comprehensible once we recognise that economics doesn’t matter. The strongest case for austerity and immigration controls is that these have nothing to do with economics. Like Brexit, they are instead attempts to assert that governments have control over social affairs. Their supporters just don’t care about their economic consequences because other things matter more: sovereignty and an assurance that the government is on top of things.

Brexiters talking about economics are like dogs walking on their hind legs. One partly admires the gymnastic trickery, but the job is badly done and the animal’s heart isn’t really in it.

Of course, the right and the media do talk about “the economy.” But by this they mean something very different from what I understand by it. To them, the economy is not about real people struggling to make a living. It is a reified hyper-reality, a means through which politicians try to establish credibility. This is why “the economy” has often been equated with the public finances.

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