The text of G. Warren Nutter’s 1956 “Traveler’s tale of the Soviet economy” challenges the belief that only credentialed experts offer useful economic analysis. Nutter’s introduction is a remarkable statement of an approach in which an expert attempts to see the world through eyes unfiltered by theoretical propositions. His distrust of theory is such that his “Tale” was hurriedly written so that these presuppositions did not creep in to “correct” the naïve impressions of a tourist. Two decades after Nutter’s trip, Alain Besançon (Survey: A Journal of East and West Studies 25(4): 143–159, 1980) pointed out the inconsistency between the Soviet world described by witnesses and that described by orthodox Western economic models. More recently an inconsistency in the sequences of models in American economic textbooks—faster Soviet growth without catching up to American levels—has been detailed (Levy and Peart Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 78: 110–125, 2011). A difference between the witnessed world and the modeled world in the sequence of textbooks is that the modeled world was not possible.
The Review of Austrian Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 27, 2014
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