ANALYSIS: What the hell is maximisation? [Will Davies]

I stumbled upon this paper by Edward Lazear on economic imperialism [pdf] from the FTC yesterday, which is actually a remarkably interesting specimen. The term ‘economic imperialism’ is traditionally used as a term of abuse, most frequently by Ben Fine, against Gary Becker, James Coleman and others in the Chicago neo-classical tradition. After all, who would proudly declare themselves to be an ‘imperialist’? Well Edward Lazear clearly. It’s rare to find anyone, outside of the televangelism business, to be so brazen about such an unbending set of abstractions.

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