[PEN-L:10512] Re: RE: Re: "Co-optation" and "Heterodoxy"

Craven, Jim jcraven at SPAMclark.edu
Tue Aug 31 18:29:38 MDT 1999

James Craven
Clark College, 1800 E. McLoughlin Blvd.
Vancouver, WA. 98663
(360) 992-2283; Fax: (360) 992-2863
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-----Original Message-----
From: Yoshie Furuhashi [mailto:furuhashi.1 at osu.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, August 31, 1999 4:40 PM
To: pen-l at galaxy.csuchico.edu
Subject: [PEN-L:10512] Re: RE: Re: "Co-optation" and "Heterodoxy"

Hi Jim:
>Actually I wasn't myself so much inveighing against "counterculture" as
>wondering what it is exactly and wondering how much of what is called
>Heterodox economics is ersatz or is a co-opted caricature of some other
>"real thing"; or, perhaps, a self co-opted caricature of other
>"non-heterodox" caricatures that have been at least partially accepted in
>that the proposed refutations address and react to other "non-heterodox"
>caricatures and in doing so create another caricature.
>It was just some random musings on taking the model to another level and
>across disciplines.

I think it would be worth doing the Baffler-type dialectical criticism in
economics, because I don't think such a thing is done very often (if at
all) in this discipline.  (My criticism was only meant to apply to Thomas
Frank and his repetition; also I think that what's worth doing once in a
while is not necessarily worth doing all the time.  Perhaps I was unclear)
If you have a dialectical criticism of "heterodox" economics, I will be all



David Colander and some others began to do more work in "The Spread of
Economic Ideas" and by whom and how orthodoxies are defined, spread and
fall; how and by whom heterodoxies in turn are defined, spread and become
the new "orthodoxies" and then fall (sort of like

I remember at a conference in Vancouver BC at a session on applying core
concepts of "mainstream" economics and presumably "heterodox" economics as
well, (homo oeconomicus, opportunity cost, maximization and calculation on
the margin, etc) to what economists do: the subjects chosen, methodologies,
defining orthodox versus heterodox, mainstreaming versus
marginalizing/demonizing, academic placement and promotions, tenure
criteria, criteria for publishability, "permissible" versus heretical
concepts/methodologies/media etc.)there wasn't much enthusiasm for
"introspection" and self-examination as I remember.

Certainly some of the economists I met appeared to fit the Homo Oeconomicus
model (crude or "refined") to a tee such that the model itself and their
heavy reliance on it, appeared to be a form of Freudian projection--they
were describing and legitimating themselves.

I think that any dialectical examination of orthodoxy or heterodoxy would
have to include the concept of cognitive dissonance (contradictions between
fact vs belief, fact vs emotion, emotion vs belief create mind/physiology
disturbing dissonances in need of resolution via altering either facts,
emotions or beliefs to resolve contradictions or dissonance)

I think that any dialectical examination of orthodoxy or heterodoxy in
academia would have to include an examination of institutional imperatives
and mechanisms of survival, success and influence in academia, government or
"private" sectors: toadying and whoring, sycophancy, scholar despotism,
networking, mentoring, rhetorical intention dressed up as "value free",
self-censorship, Faustian bargains and forms of rationalizing them etc.

Also who and on what basis is "orthodoxy" versus "heterodoxy" defined? Is
there any generalizable definition of "heterodox"? Is there such a thing as
a uniform "heterodox" paradigm? Is "heterodox" just a general concept for
all those subjects, methodological approaches, sources and authorities
considered "taboo" by the old fools--and their younger whores/toadies--who
dominate the usual associations and conventions?

Who are the "leaders" of heterodoxy and how and by whom did they become
defined/accepted as leaders? To what extent do they mirror, in reacting to
orthodoxy, the very orthodoxy to which they have reacted thus creating the
notion of a heterodoxy? Is heterodox synonomous with anti-orthodox or with
reformed orthodox? To what extent, in accepting and applying some of the
methodologies and tools utilized/over-utilized by the "orthodoxy", have the
heterodox sought approval from or at least a truce with orthodoxy, at the
expense of relevance,impact and accessibility for those who are the
professed objects of concern/research of the heterodox--poor, oppressed etc?
Are the heterodox mimicking the orthodox in terms of insulation, criteria
for accceptability of research for publication, notions of "permissibility"
versus taboo in subjects and venues? Is heterodox some kind of marketing
gimmick to get new undergrad/grad students--in the face of declining
enrollments/revenues--with no mind or stomach for the ultra-math
(mathurbation) and reductionism/positivism and irrelevance of orthodoxy?

These are but some of the questions that should be raised in any dialectical
examination of "heterodoxy" in economics or any other discipline.

Jim C

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