ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Values, Efficiency and Exploitation

Values, Efficiency and Exploitation C T Kurien KAUSHIK BASU (March 17) finds my queries (October 21, 1989) "strongly worded". "Sharply posed" would have been more accurate, for so they were. I had made a special effort to pose my questions as clearly and specifically as possible hoping that the responses too would be like that. Unfortunately, Basu in his response is mostly arguing by analogy In responding to him, let me begin with what I had considered the most crucial aspect in his original presentation, the relationship between 'efficiency' and 'exploitation' (a) Basu's argument was that the concepts of optimally and efficiency are so well defined that there are objective ways of verifying whether society is optimal and efficient. Note that here Basu is using the concept of 'efficiency' in a technical and defined sense where it has a meaning which it derives from that definition. The word 'efficiency' enters very frequently into common parlance also where it is understood in a very different sense. Basu was right in warning about this distinction and in pointing out that even in their professional discourse some economists (or many economists including some 'distinguished' ones, if Basu will find it more appealing) are not careful to observe that distinction, I agree, A problem that economics has is that its theoretical terminologies may appear to be similar to expressions in common parlance, but as constructs they are different from their counterparts in day-to-day conversation.

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