Economics and Political Institutions

In my field of study I often have occasion to contemplate the relationship between Economics and Political Science. The distinction is a relatively late one in the history of social inquiry and is lately eroding as political scientists apply increasing analytic rigor to the subject matter they study and economists begin to take seriously the institutions in which their subjects are nested. On that note, I leave you with a quotation of which I am rather fond by Abba Lerner:

Thousands of habits of behavior and of enforced laws had to be developed over millennia to establish the nature and the minutiae of property rights before we could have buying and selling, instead of each man just taking what he wanted if only he was strong enough… Each set of rights begins as a conflict about what somebody is doing or wants to do which affects others… An economic transaction is a solved political problem. Economics has gained the title of queen of the social sciences by choosing solved political problems as its domain.

Abba Lerner, “The Economics and Politics of Consumer Sovereignty” (1972)


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