On the scope of economics : what is the question?
AbstractThe paper attempts to identify the bone of contention concerning the extension of the neoclassical economic approach to traditional domains of other social sciences. The extension of the optimization hypothesis to the study of crime, status, and ideology - known as »economics imperialism> - definitely advances a universal social science. The paper tries to expose the crux of the debate surrounding such a broad scope of economics. The paper maintains that the central bone of contention concerns whether interest and moral commitment, understood as preferred interest, are commensurable as claimed by the optimization hypothesis of orthodox neoclassical economics. The paper argues, the commitment/interest commensurability issue is at the heart of the scope of economics debate. The paper tries to show that the universality of economics thesis is not about, first, whether moral utility is independent of pecuniary utility. Second, it is not about whether the taste for fine arts and the taste for American-style wrestling are commensurable. Third, the thesis is not about whether tastes are given or whether they are endogenously determined by sociocultural values. Fourth, the universality thesis is not about the tradeoff between self-interest and other-interest (i.e., altruism). For that matter, fifth, it is not about the determination of preferences per se. Rather, the paper maintains, the universality of economics thesis stands or falls depending on whether the taste for commitment (i.e., preferred moral principles and rules of justice) is smoothly substitutable with interest.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Finnish Economic Association in its journal Finnish Economic Papers.
Volume (Year): 8 (1995)
Issue (Month): 1 (Spring)
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D0 - Microeconomics - - General
- B4 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Shapiro, Carl, 1983. "Premiums for High Quality Products as Returns to Reputations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(4), pages 659-79, November.
- Brennan, Timothy J., 1989. "A Methodological Assessment of Multiple Utility Frameworks," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(02), pages 189-208, October.
- Williamson, Oliver E, 1983. "Credible Commitments: Using Hostages to Support Exchange," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 519-40, September.
- Khalil, Elias L., 1996. "Respect, admiration, aggrandizement: Adam Smith as economic psychologist," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 555-577, November.
- Khalil, Elias L., 1999. "Sentimental fools: a critique of Amartya Sen's notion of commitment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 373-386, December.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Editorial Secretary).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.