They're Not Eating Crow, But...

What do you do when you're caught on the wrong side of history?

For U. S. radical economists, that's the question of the hour. For 25 years, the radicals' criticisms of capitalism and markets have been a small but persistent thorn in the side of mainstream economics. But now, the formerly socialist nations of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe are rushing headlong toward markets. The membership of the Union for Radical Political Economics (URPE) is about 1,000, down from a peak of about 1,700 in the late 1970s. And they've even lost sole use of their name, as the term "radical" is increasingly being applied to Soviet economists who advocate a rapid transition to a market economy. Exults Edward P. Lazear, an economist at the University of Chicago and a senior fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution: "Radical economists are on the run. It's now politically correct to talk about markets and nothing else."

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