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Zero-sum thinking and economic policy

  • Paul H. Rubin (a1)

A main tenet of folk economics is the assumption that the world is zero-sum. Many implications stem from this assumption. These include: beliefs regarding taxation; beliefs regarding economic regulation; beliefs regarding inequality; and the core of Marxist economics. Zero-sum folk economic thinking is short-term and deals with distribution; standard economic thinking deals with the size of the pie and is longer-term.

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Marx, K. (1875/1970) Critique of the Gotha Program. In: Selected works of Marx and Engels, vol. 3, pp. 13-30. Progress Publishers. (Original work published in 1875; Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1970 edition of Selected Works consulted).
Rubin, P. H. (2002) Darwinian politics: The evolutionary origin of freedom. Rutgers University Press.
Rubin, P. H. (2003) Folk economics. Southern Economic Journal 70(1):157–71. doi: 10.2307/1061637.
Rubin, P. H. (2014) Emporiophobia (fear of markets): Cooperation or competition? Southern Economic Journal 80(4):875–89. doi: 10.4284/0038-4038-2013.287.
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Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • ISSN: 0140-525X
  • EISSN: 1469-1825
  • URL: /core/journals/behavioral-and-brain-sciences
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