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From financialization of economies to evaluation of economists

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De la financiarisation de l’économie à l’évaluation des économistes

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1Unlike recent issues of the Revue de la Régulation. Régulation Review, this one does not include a special thematic issue. Nevertheless, two related questions run through it: financial governance and the importance of rankings for research evaluations and subsidies.

2The first two articles deal with the way rankings of research activity, on the one hand, and the qualification – or rather, quantification – of knowledge, on the other, are produced. These rankings imply a competition between researchers and universities. The well-known Shanghai Ranking (ARWU), which is closely interpreted here by Jean-Charles Billaut, Denis Bouyssou and Philippe Vyncke, is indicative of the numerous biases and failings of such rankings. David Pontille and Didier Torny’s meticulous study on the genesis of the rankings of economics and management journals is the first of a series of articles, from a sociological perspective in particular, which will deal with the social construction of the economist’s profession. As such, it reflects the Revue de la Régulation. Régulation Review’s commitment to exchanges with the other social sciences. But these articles are also part of a broader reflection on the evolution and crisis of economic thought, following the call for submissions which has provided material for this issue and others to come.

3It is striking to observe, moreover, that the logic of benchmarking which underlies these instruments for the dissemination and application of the economics discipline is also quite present in the field of finance. Indeed, financialisation has long been a major, recurring question for the Revue. In this issue, David Bourghelle and Pauline Hyme re-examine the origins of the crash in order to develop a severe criticism of the efficiency of the markets. Within the field of finance once again, Esther Jeffers addresses the question of the lender of last resort and its relevance to the crisis. These articles, along with that of Jean-François Vidal on the crises and transformations of the Swedish social-democratic model, correspond to a first group of papers presented at the 2009 Regulation Forum. Christopher Lantenois, meanwhile, focuses on another social-democratic model, that of Germany, with a study of managerial elites which brings out the process of financialisation of German capitalism in the Rhineland.

4The crisis of finance and the crisis of economic thought are not unrelated.  Both the financialisation process and the economic policies before and after the crisis raise the question of the economists’ responsibilities. In France, the manifesto of the ‘Appalled Economists’ (économistes atterrés) forcefully expresses this reappraisal; its success – more than 2,300 signatures up to now as of this issue of the Revue – also demonstrates that the economics discipline is not a monolithic block issuing blandly objective diagnoses and remedies. Notwithstanding its dominant position, the mainstream is above all a socially and politically constructed force field with many dividing lines running through it. This is the reason for our double interviews with two of the initiators of the manifesto, Philippe Askenazy and André Orléan (who is also president of the Association Française d’Économie Politique, AFEP - French Association for Political Economy, FAPE), which provides an opportunity to reconsider its significance and examine the question of the discipline’s unity and plurality, even among the ‘Appalled Economists’ (what kind of pluralism is needed to produce a vital, innovative body of thought attuned to the questions of the times?). Thomas Coutrot, meanwhile, discusses the origins of the manifesto and the possible forms of a joint Europe-wide effort.

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« From financialization of economies to evaluation of economists », Revue de la régulation [En ligne], 8 | 2e semestre / Autumn 2010, mis en ligne le 28 décembre 2012, consulté le 25 juillet 2017. URL : http://regulation.revues.org/10023

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