Analyzing three Italian historical experiences as laboratories of transnational networks of disciplinary economics, this chapter deals with the contingent and the (con)textual character of the power of economics, starting from its relationship with the object of its discursive and practical interventions: laypeople. This fundamental relational dimension, source of economists’ power in the global political economy, is often underestimated by current social studies on economics, which implicitly assume a self-referential and autopoietic foundation of this power. Conversely, combining discursive political economy, sociologies of expertise and transnational historical sociology, this contribution analyzes economic expertise as a complex network of practices, discourses and institutions constantly and strategically deployed to deal with socio-political contingencies. Our lay perspective on Italian experience proposes a socio-historical understanding of economist’s apparently neutral set of governmental practices. In this light, measurements, operative tools and conceptual apparatuses can be interpreted as practical and discursive interventions shaping strategically specific epistemic regimes and relational fields aiming to separate organizational and material issues from popular control and marginalizing possible alternatives so to get population and territories in line with socio-technical divisions of labour.