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Do you think economists will ever agree on the issue of active versus passive...

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sj83 | Valedictorian

Posted September 25, 2013 at 11:46 AM via web

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Do you think economists will ever agree on the issue of active versus passive policymaking?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 25, 2013 at 1:00 PM (Answer #1)

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There is no way that all economists will ever agree on this issue.  There may be times when most economists think in one way or the other, but there will never be complete agreement.  Let us look at two reasons why this is so.

First, the debate between passive and active policies is a political debate.  In other words, people who are conservative tend to believe in passive policies while liberals believe in active policies.  This means that, as long as there are conservatives and liberals among economists, there will tend to be disagreement.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, neither side can ever be proven wrong.  Let us look at the example of the actions of Presidents Bush and Obama during the 2008-9 economic crisis.  There are many who would argue that Bush should not have bailed out the banks and that Obama should not have pushed for the huge economic stimulus plan when he came into office.  Conservatives can argue that the economy would have been better off if those actions had not been taken.  The problem is that there is no way to prove this.  We cannot go back and replay our history to see whether active or passive policies would have worked better.

For these reasons, there will always be disputes between economists over this issue.

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