“Exploring Trade Narratives”, “Competition in Transformational Processes and “Talking about Competition“ @ EAEPE 2020

Matthias Aistleitner also presented the paper “Exploring the trade (policy) narratives in economic elite discourse” which is joint work with Stephan Pühringer (see also here). Here, we examine a specific manifestation of competition: the elite economics discourse on trade and trade policies. In doing so, we apply a multilevel mixed-method approach and combine quantitative methods (textual analysis) with a discourse analytical approach in order to highlight dominant narratives and imaginaries present in this debate. A main result from our analysis is that the elite economic discourses on trade are predominantly characterized by a normative bias in favor of trade liberalization policies leading to a systematically underestimation of negative effects of free trade policies. This paper is part of the 3rd working package of SPACE where we apply discourse analytical tools to trace the framing of competition in high-impact academic discourses.

Additionally, Theresa Hager and Johanna Rath presented their Working Paper written together with Ines Heck on “Competition in Transformational Processes: Polanyi & Schumpeter” at the EAEPE. The paper draws a link between the notions and concepts of competition and the consequences of these on social norms and social organization generally. The authors examine parallels and differences in the analyses of capitalism and the succeeding form of social organisation by Karl Polanyi and Joseph Schumpeter. By focusing on the transformational process in both theories, they identify five aspects that determine the difference in outcomes for both authors: the emergence of the current economic system, the notion of competition, the change in social norms, the understanding of elites and freedom as a synthesizing factor. While the transformational process is nearly analogous in both theories, the resulting social organisation tends to be rather dissimilar. They conclude that this dissimilarity is caused mainly by the authors’ different premises.   

After a successful presentation at SASE 2020, Stephan Pühringer and Johanna Rath again presented their paper “Talking about Competition. Discursive shifts in the economic imaginary of competition in public debates” at the virtual conference of the European Association for Evolutionary Political Economy (EAEPE) on the 3rd of September 2020. The paper, which is joint work with Laura Porak is currently still work in progress, aims to explore the performativity of the economic concept of competition in public policy discourses and show to what extent these debates are shaped by professional economists as experts and opinion leaders. Thus, we are interested in the way the economic concept of competition has entered discourses and how distinct forms of a competitive logic have affected politico-economic processes of transformation on different levels of human conduct.

Despite the circumstances due to the online modus of the conference we still enjoyed the discussion and were able to benefit from helpful comments from the scientific community to further improve our work! 

Leave a Reply