Economics and political economy

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I was asked recently what I thought the difference between economics and political economy was.

I explained that in my opinion when an economist stands in front of a car they think:

How can we make this thing work with the tools that we have got?

A political economist standing in the same position thinks something quite different. They ask four questions.  The first is:

 Do we need a means of transport?

Then they ask:

 Is this the best means of transport available to us?

After which they muse on:

How can we improve on that best option?

Befoe finally considering:

 What new tools might we need to achieve these goals?

Economists and political economists are very different indeed in that case.