Rhetoricians, skeptical that economics can be value-free, argue that expositions of economic policy and expositions of economic science are the same thing: sophistry “all the way down.” Although rhetoricians note correctly that metaphor plays a role in both fields, they fail to appreciate a big difference—namely, that economic policy suffers from sophistry most often where property rights are weakly protected and the state tends to substitute force for opinion.

James A. Montanye is a retired consulting economist in Falls Church, Virginia.
Economic PolicyEconomistsEconomyPhilosophy and ReligionPublic Choice
Other Independent Review articles by James A. Montanye
Summer 2018 Digital Revolutions in Public Finance
Winter 2015/16 Does Altruism Exist?: Culture, Genes, and the Welfare of Others
Fall 2014 The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left
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