International Organizations and the Analysis of Economic Policy, 1919-1950

By Anthony M. Endres; Grant A. Fleming | Go to book overview

9
Conclusion
Epilogue: Investigating Economics and Policy
Analysis in International Organizations

In Chapter 1 we portrayed economists engaged by international organizations as practitioners of “international political economy, ” subsequently defined in the Schumpeterian sense as including the articulation of a set of economic policy recommendations or policy orientations advocated on the basis of certain underlying normative precepts. We set the objective for this book to produce an account of the economic thought of economists associated in one way or another (as employees, consultants, advisers) with international organizations up to 1950. Usually, the ideas of these economists were developed in response to policy questions – questions connected directly with government action – established by resolutions and recommendations of the governing bodies and conferences of respective international organizations.

A more specific expositional objective was to accept from the outset the value laden content of research work on policy questions in international organizations and then analyze as a separate matter, the “unifying principles, ” as Schumpeter (1954:38) called them, underpinning policy proposals. Moreover, we were interested in considering the uniqueness and distinctiveness of analysis undertaken within the locus of an international organization, and the extent to which associated economic doctrines supported or invalidated particular lines of approach adopted by policy makers. When reviewing explicit or implicit advocacy contained in a piece of analysis or research work surveyed in the foregoing chapters it must be borne in mind that historical accounts or reconstructions analyze the character and content of economics as applied to policy issues at one remove from the motives of those who produced the analysis. The direction and special nuances in the analysis may well have been motivated by what Schumpeter (1954: 337n) referred to as the “most stubborn class interest” – yet the analytic content may be apprehended in its own right as representing insights (error-ridden, idealistic, pathbreaking, original, trivial, or otherwise)

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