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Capitalism. The logic of Liberty

Author(s): Cosmin Marinescu (coordonator),  Bogdan Glăvan,  Gabriel Staicu, Marius-Cristian Pană, Octavian-Dragomir Jora

Publishing house: Humanitas
Year published: 2012
Number of pages: 403

 

„55% of the Romanians consider communism a good idea, but wrongly applied”- announces us, in the candid and common tone of transition, the most recent survey conducted at the end of July 2012. Without actually understanding the nature of capitalism and, at the same time, rightly disappointed by its so-called post-revolutionary manifestations – those tributary to the state rather than to the free market, the Romanians continue to be tempted by the nostalgic, paternalist transition nets of the „rationally planned” society.

But neither does the West, which has prosperously experienced the material welfare of the capitalism, put its hope in the grounds of the market economy any more, as it did in the good times, undisrupted by financial-identity crises. In the economically euphoric years before the recession, according to a PIPA (Program on International Policy Attitude) survey, undertaken in 20 countries from all over the world, only 61% of respondents believe that the market economy – the capitalism – is the most viable economic system.

Recently, the recessionary (dis)order, fraudulently blamed on capitalism, offers us even clearer evidence of “disbelief” in the free market virtues. And the present society is disorientatedly swinging, arguably due to the ethernal absence of criteria, between market economy and socialism, between liberty and the power of private property on one hand, and coertion and the (political) power of the state on the other.

Capitalism. The logic of liberty,published by the Humanitas Publishing House, has benefited from the moral support and the epistemic endorsement of some respected intellectuals from the international academia and research environment, a fact which proves that “the logic of liberty” remains an authentic lingua franca in the society of ideas, regardless of histories or geographies. We further reproduce the welcoming words for this editorial project, expressed by the economists Pascal Salin, Leszek Balcerowicz, János Kornai, Aurelian Dochia, Walter Block and Vasile Ișan, in the same way as they appear on the book covers.

Capitalisme. La logique de la liberté est un livre exceptionnel et je me réjouis que le public roumain bénéficie d’un tel ouvrage. Le débat entre capitalisme et interventionnisme étatique constitue le débat essentiel de notre époque et il conditionne en fait la vie de chacun d’entre nous. En se fondant sur l’analyse économique la plus rigoureuse, mais aussi sur des principes éthiques éternels, le présent ouvrage nous fournit les moyens intellectuels de comprendre le fonctionnement d’une société d’hommes libres. Il passe en revue, avec un constant souci de clarté et de rigueur, la plupart des grands problèmes économiques. Tout citoyen qui veut véritablement comprendre ce qui se passe dans le monde actuel aussi bien qu’en Roumanie se doit de lire le présent ouvrage et d’en faire son compagnon intellectuel.

Pascal Salin, Professeur émérite d’économie à l’Université Paris-Dauphine, ancien président de la Société du Mont Pèlerin

The collapse of Soviet socialism did not eliminate the need to defend the individual freedom, especially the economic one. For in every democratic and independent country there are various groups and individuals who demonize the market and press for more and more state intervention. If they prevail, both liberty and development suffer. The authors unmask various concepts and ideas, which are used to justify the expansion of the state and launch a vigorous defense of economic liberty. They represent the Austrian School – the genuinely free market stream of thought in economics and in political philosophy. The book covers many important subjects such as property rights, the monetary system, the consequences of welfare state, the institutional transformation in Romania.

Leszek Balcerowicz, Professor of Economics at Warsaw School of Economics, Former Governor of the National Bank of Poland 

In Hungary as well as in Romania surveys show that a high majority of the people consider the old regime better than the new one. To explain why this verdict is false is an important task for social scientists. Inspired by Mises’ and Hayek’s ideas, it is with a commitment to the ideas of liberty and a special expertise that Marinescu, Jora and their fellow-authors shed light on the diverse advantages of the market economy. The argumentation on the philosophy of science is also instructive: the authors strongly oppose the widespread relativization of scientific truth.

János Kornai, Professor of Economics Emeritus, Harvard University and Corvinus University of Budapest

Capitalism truly is the logic of liberty. The authors, editors, and contributors to this book are to be congratulated for seeing this important insight so clearly. Three cheers for capitalism. Three cheers for liberty. Three cheers for logic. Three cheers for Romania. And hearty congratulations to all those involved in this project. I enthusiastically support your approach. It seems to me a good idea not to jettison the word „capitalism”, but, rather, as did Ayn Rand, hold it high as our banner. The essays all look splendid. I have no doubt you and your fellow co-authors will one day be credited with turning your entire country around in the direction of liberty.

Walter Block, Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics, Joseph A. Butt, S.J. College of Business Loyola University New Orleans

Some time ago, after long reflection and thorough consideration, Friedrich Augustus von Hayek said that every generation must resume from the very beginning the arguments in defense of freedom. The time that passed and the libertoid appearances that succeeded from then to now did not deny the idea of this profound thinker. The logocracy of democracy, the exponential multiplication of all sort of rights and the statism ideocracy (eventually, of law) became overwhelming and, especially in our case, tend to replace the content of individual liberty with personal opinions and colloquial discussions, excessively covered in media. In an intellectual undertaking, with outstanding and remarkable ideatic results, Cosmin Marinescu and its distinguished companions of investigation in searching the truth bring back in competition, de jure and de facto, the defence of individual freedom. They dispel the confusions between freedom and various other rights enacted by state and they restore the truth of the civilised society, which it is worth thinking and acting for.

Vasile Ișan, Rector of the University „Alexandru Ioan-Cuza”, Iaşi

This book comes to complete a gap that exists in the Romanian economic and social literature, where the Austrian school of thought was present mainly through translations. Keeping the good faith that led the masters of this school, the authors of this book engage themselves in demonstrating that once the principle of individual liberty is recognised and accepted, the voluntary cooperation between people naturally leads to the emergence of market economy, of capitalism, and any kind of intervention that affects property rights ends up by violating, one way or another, the individual liberty. Beyond the accuracy of the argumentation, this book is written with passion, demonstrating a confidence in the fairness and the truthfulness of the positions it presents which I often envy. A convincing book, written with conviction.

Aurelian Dochia, publicist, economic analyst

 


Costurile de tranzacție și performanța economică. Implicații privind România în procesul de integrare europeană

Autor(i): Cosmin Marinescu
Editura: Institutul Național de Cercetări Economice “Costin C. Kirițescu”, Editura Expert
Anul apariţiei: 2013
Numar de pagini: 165

Cercetarea ştiinţifică recentă asupra fundamentelor instituţionale ale performanţei economice demonstrează că, prin reducerea costurilor de tranzacţie, instituţiile care protejează drepturile de proprietate sunt decisive pentru dezvoltarea economică. De aici şi nevoia de analiză, metodologică și critică, a categoriei „costurilor de tranzacţie” în calitate de indicator pentru sensul şi intensitatea reformelor instituţionale.

În abordarea convenţională (mainstream) asupra costurilor de tranzacţie, ingredientul instituţional al costurilor de tranzacţie scăzute părea a reprezenta cheia dezvoltării economice. Însă, orice strategie privind „ţintirea” reducerii costurilor de tranzacţie atrage automat problema evaluării lor, cel puţin pentru a distinge asupra viabilităţii unor soluţii instituţionale. Dar dincolo de orice strategie constructivistă, trebuie reconsiderată şi completată perspectiva mainstream, în care costurile de tranzacţie sunt privite mai degrabă ca obstacole în calea succesului economic, decât drept corolare (mai mult sau mai puțin fireşti) ale acţiunii şi interacţiunii umane.

Integrarea costurilor de tranzacţie în teoria dezvoltării economice ar deveni atât mai utilă, cât şi mai coerentă, prin delimitarea conceptuală dintre costurile de tranzacţie de piaţă, a căror existenţă în sfera acţiunii umane este până la un punct naturală, inevitabilă şi costurile de tranzacţie impuse, a căror sursă este externă ordinii sociale a pieţei, fiind rezultatul manifestării structurii ierarhice a puterii politice, specifică sistemului instituţional statal.

Perspectiva instituţională asupra relaţiei costuri de tranzacţie – performanţă economică este întregită explicativ prin argumentele care fundamentează, metodologic şi empiric, categoria libertăţii economice. Activitatea antreprenorială nu poate fi analizată decât printr-o conexiune intrinsecă, naturală, cu cadrul instituţional al libertăţii economice. În esenţă, abordările empirice demonstrează că sporirea libertăţii economice, prin îmbunătăţirea calităţii instituţiilor şi prin reducerea costurilor de tranzaţie impuse, stimulează activitatea antreprenorială şi performanţa economică.

În acest sens, în procesul de integrare europeană, aşa cum arată analizele comparative din lucrare, România trebuie să acorde atenţie acelor reforme instituţionale menite a reduce decalajele în privinţa calităţii instituţionale a mediului de afaceri, în special în sfera sistemului fiscal, a corupţiei şi a protejării drepturilor de proprietate.


Libertate economică şi proprietate.
Implicaţii privind reformele instituţionale
din România şi Uniunea Europeană

Autor(i): Cosmin Marinescu (coord.),Gabriel Staicu, Marius-Cristian Pană,Octavian-Dragomir Jora, Cosmin Mosora

Editura: ASE
Anul apariţiei: 2011
Numar de pagini: 316

 

Din vremuri imemoriale, libertatea pare a fi valoarea cea mai de preţ pentru oameni. Filozofia socială a Occidentului este, în esenţă, o filozofie a libertăţii, pe care s-a construit de altfel întreaga prosperitate şi civilizaţie umană. Însă, de-a lungul timpului, nu puţine sunt doctrinele care au răstălmăcit adevărata semnificaţie şi virtute a libertăţii. Aproape toate doctrinele care au stat la baza regimurilor totalitare au pretins că oferă indivizilor libertate. Socialismul, de exemplu, promitea „clasei muncitoare” eliberarea de sub exploatarea capitalistă; în realitate, de facto şi de jure, politica socialistă de „planificare pentru libertate” nu putea reprezenta decât „planificare pentru sclavagism”, adică tocmai eliberarea individului de demnitatea umană şi aruncarea lui îndărătul civilizaţiei, ceea ce s-a şi întâmplat. Probabil că libertatea omului în societate este cel mai explorat domeniu al filozofiei politice şi ştiinţelor sociale din toate timpurile şi cel în care s-au afirmat unele dintre cele mai strălucite minţi ale omenirii. Simpla lor trecere în revistă indică un exerciţiu impresionant, însă nu neapărat necesar. Ceea ce contează cu adevărat ţine de înţelegerea faptului că eforturile filozofilor şi ale oamenilor de ştiinţă au vizat necesitatea unei teorii a libertăţii, cu scopul de a defini criteriul fundamental de evaluare a societăţii, de transformare a acesteia într-o societate mai dreaptă, mai bună.


Institutional Economics. Course notes and applications

Author(s): Cosmin Marinescu
Publishing house: ASE Bucureşti
Year published: 2005
Number of pages: 235

 

The content of the Institutional Economics course is falling under the area of central issues for economics and philosophical economy: what are the rules, namely the institutions that can shape the society so that the institutional order be ethical, just, and to what extent can this institutional arrangement sustain the economic progress? The fall of socialism, the reconsideration of the government role, the intensification of economic life globalization, are changes in the social organization that have drawn the attention over the crucial importance of institutional arrangements. The study of institutions has given birth to a relatively distinct domain of economic science. Thus, the economic approach of institutions, the institutional analysis, is remarkable both because of its actuality and the realism of its arguments.

For teaching, the paper is aimed to fulfill the theoretical and empirical exigencies of an academic course. For this, the basic rationale and the key concepts analysis are complemented by a number of applications and bibliographical references. The proposed questions and case studies are meant to stimulate readers’ interest and to open discussions and to stimulate the creativity during the teaching process.

The paper is addressed mainly to students in economic sciences, in general, and to those interested in the true sources of economic prosperity, in particular. Topics like property rights, law, the political system and the public choice, social order, freedom have a particular resonance for those preoccupied by the destiny of human society, both at scientific and pragmatic level.


Market Economy. Institutional Foundation of Prosperity

Author(s): Cosmin Marinescu (coordonator),
Gabriel Staicu, Marius Pană, Diana Costea, Bogdan Glăvan,
Cosmin Rogojanu, Marius Spiridon, Cosmin Mosora, Grigore Piroşcă,
Emilia Topolică
Publishing house: ASE
Year published: 2007
Number of pages: 478

 

Mankind history has revealed itself in two different instances: either as the history of the fight for freedom, or as the fight for undermining freedom in society.„The power of freedom” or „the freedom of power”? – This is the ultimate question that political philosophy and economics are both facing. The very removal of such doubt opens the way to the blessings of economic knowledge, offering the possibility to imagine a society with a just and ethical institutional order and – as a corollary – generator of the so much desired prosperity. We say „as corollary” because the very „spirit” of capitalism is one of personal freedom, and not necessarily of material prosperity and capital accumulations, which are also a result of liberty.

Emulating Tocqueville, we do not share the view that true love for freedom was born simply by cherishment of its procured material goods. For this reason, the market economy, as the completion of the individual liberty as opposed to the power of the state, is naturally transcending the material prosperity frame. The “power of liberty” springs from the love for freedom, which is love for the other. In opposition, the “freedom of power” betrays the love for power, which mirrors the love for the self.

This book was written with the belief that the teachings of economics, braided with the virtue of Christian morality would be the “complete lesson”, both necessary and sufficient, for the useful use of the gift of thinking. The consequence of such a creed is precisely this intellectual quest, abundant as thematic, young and enthusiastic from the research point of view. In this we filtered – through the rigor of logic – the idea that a market economy (capitalism or the order of private property) is the natural state of human society.

All along the picture of the market economy, one we wanted complete, we showed why the good faith has to form the vital guiding principle of the scientist. That is to offer and to defend the right, correct, healthy ideas that protect life, against the incorrect ideas that would, sooner or later, destroy it. In the modern world, built by and around state policies, in the rare situations when the economist is not tempted to dress the suit of the policy-maker, he holds an extra responsibility for the destiny of the ideas he promoted.

The book was awarded in 2008, for economic literature, by the Romanian Association of Economic Faculties (AFER).


Institutions and Prosperity. From Ethics to Efficiency

Author(s): Cosmin Marinescu
Publishing house: Editura Economică
Year published: 2004
Number of pages: 303

 

The book represents an inquiry into the institutional sources of prosperity both from an empirical and from a theoretical point of view. We research in particular the institution of the property rights in connection with its legal and ethical framework. Economic rationale is completed when put in the ethical framework, since economics, law and ethics are naturally interconnected. Despite all these, among most “scientists” still subsists the belief that an objective theory of justice based on universal ethical principles is impossible. Obsessed by the paradigm of maximization, the neo-classical scientism from economic theory claims that not only the objectives and the tools for the human action are subjective, but everything else.

In absence of objective ethic validation, judging efficiency becomes scientifically irrelevant and damaging for the credibility of fundamental institutions, such as the law. In the real world, governed by policies generating advantages for some and disadvantages for the others, conceiving Pareto optimal solutions is, clearly, impossible. In this case, the problem at stake becomes: “efficiency, yes, but for whom?”
The very fact that the absence of private ownership is synonymous with the impossibility of economic calculus has profound consequences for the economic system and public policies. It is a recall of the Misesian argument of the impossibility of the economic calculus in socialism and its application in the public sector, as the socialism isle of any market economy. From here, via extrapolation, one draws the spectacular theorems of “impossibility”: the impossibility of formulating efficiency criteria independent from the property rights, the impossibility of rational planning in socialism, the impossibility of “neutral” taxation, the impossibility of limiting the state scope due to the electoral logic of democracy, etc.


Educaţia: perspectivă economică

Autor(i): Cosmin Marinescu
Editura: Editura Economică
Anul apariţiei: 2001
Numar de pagini: 253

Educaţia: perspectivă economică” este expresia faptului că, în prezent, economia şi învăţământul nu se întâlnesc numai de nevoie şi doar în domeniul realului, ci şi în cel al principiilor.

„Educaţia mea este, desigur, o resursă pentru mine. Dar educaţia mea este, de asemenea, o resursă şi pentru alţi oameni. Educaţia mea afectează calitatea vieţii oamenilor cu care interacţionez în viaţă. Aceasta este o caracteristică a educaţiei care nu poate fi modificată decât dacă percep o taxa ori de câte ori deschid gura”… Astfel, analiza economică a educaţiei din perspectiva teoriei externalităţilor şi a bunurilor publice devine pe deplin justificată. Însă, educaţia nici nu este bun public şi nici nu generează, în mod necesar, externalităţi pozitive.

În prezent, aproape toate sistemele educaţionale sunt dominate şi structurate de reguli ce reflectă voinţele organismelor guvernamentale, care finanţează şi administrează educaţia formală, devenită astfel o educaţie de stat. Educaţia formală “asigurată” de guvernele democratice ale celor mai dezvoltate ţări nu diferă fundamental, în concepţie şi rezultate, de sistemele educaţionale moştenite de ţările foste socialiste; de altfel, istoria implicării statului în educaţie, atât în cazul sistemelor politice totalitare cât şi în democraţiile occidentale, arată că, de-a lungul timpului, şcoala publică a fost în mâna puterii politice instrumentul indispensabil pentru a insufla sau impune treptat anumite valori ideologice.

Monopolul public asupra educaţiei favorizează nivelarea oricăror diferenţe existente în performanţele profesionale şi în realizările didactice şi ştiintifice. Aceste diferenţe nu se regăsesc, sub nicio formă, în remunerarea principalului factor de producţie al domeniului, profesorul. De exemplu, spre deosebire de majoritatea domeniilor vieţii sociale, remunerarea profesorilor în toate sistemele educaţionale de stat este stabilită birocratic şi continuă să rămână uniformă, în ciuda tuturor contraargumentelor economice.

Cosmin Marinescu