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right vs left is clearly a political dimension, with the ambiguity cleared up when its made clear what political arena and what time period in that political arena we are talking about. "left economics", as "right economics", is economics in service of the political requirements of the left coalition as opposed to economics in service of the political requirements of the right coalition.
progressive is vis a vis conservative or traditionalist, with the ambiguities being judged as progress against what criteria and progress of what, so "progressive economics" is a double entendre at least, possibly a treble entendre, with one reading "progress in understanding the material provisioning of society", and a second reading "economics that is useful to those who consider themselves political progressives" (with multiple criteria possible for political progress meaning that the second meaning could easily be two or three partly contradictory meanings).
And of course, liberal vis a vis authoritarian is ambiguous in terms of who is being liberated from what authority, so that those who are freeing commercial corporations to exercise power over citizens can imagine themselves as "liberating" the owners of the corporation from state authority, even as the citizens being oppressed by corporate power may themselves wish to be liberated from corporate authority.
Near as I can tell without investing more effort than was available to me today, Gintis is not meaning "progressive economics" in the sense of progress in the discipline of economics away from an uncritical application of a traditional toolkit under a traditional unit of analysis toward being a science of the material provisioning of society, but is meaning the much easier "progressive economics" in the sense that it is a synonym for "left economics", which is a falling off a log analysis, since placing a social science at the service of the immediate political ends of some political faction implies that there will be less there than meets the eye.
My comment was just an arch reminder that reading "progressive economics" as being synonymous with "left economics" implies that what Herb is aiming at is the intrinsically easier target.
I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
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