The Economics of Cary Moon and Why They Separate Her from the Rest of the Mayoral Candidates – Slog


The reason the city should seriously consider Cary Moon is it has never had a mayor who really understands economics. And already I must make a few things clear before explaining why this is of great importance in our moment and this race.

What do I mean by economics? Unlike most economists, business journalists, and politicians, I distinguish economics from a branch of the subject called neo-classical economics. What’s taught at higher education institutions like the University of Washington are the ideas of the neo-classical school, which is characterized by its emphasis on exchanges—what people bring to and take from the market. When exchanges are at the center of the economic picture, what matters is not what is exchanged or where it came from or how it was made, but reaching a state where all that is offered in a market has a buyer, or, to put it another way, reaching equilibrium. This is why in the neoclassical school, which is often confused with economics as a whole, believes there can be no involuntary unemployment. There is always a buyer for work if it the market reaches an equilibrium point. That point may be high (during a boom) or very low (during a bust). This is why, in this view of things, government intervention always makes matters worse; it disturbs or distorts the market. For example, remove the minimum wage law (which is imposed by the government), and the labor market will clear.

Neo-classical economists trans-code these market exchanges into models and mathematical formulas. In this way, market exchanges look scientific and not political. Gone from the formulas is the history of…

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