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Economics - Unfit for purpose: The Director's Cut

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  • Ben Fine

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    (Department of Economics, SOAS, University of London, UK)

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    Abstract

    This paper is a lengthier and revised version of the Closing Plenary given to the World Congress of the Association of Social Economics, and Cairncross Lecture, University of Glasgow, June, 2012. Mainstream economics is seen as unfit for purpose because of deficiencies that have long been criticised by a marginalised heterodoxy. These include the taking out of the historical and social even if bringing them back in on the basis of a technical apparatus and architecture that is sorely inappropriate. These observations are illustrated in passing reference to social capital but are particularly appropriate for understanding the weakness of ethics within mainstream economics. An alternative is offered through taking various “entanglements†(such as facts and values) as critical point of departure, leading to the suggestion that ethical systems are subject to the 10 Cs – Constructed, Construed, Conforming, Commodified, Contextual, Contradictory, Closed, Contested, Collective and Chaotic.

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    File URL: http://www.soas.ac.uk/economics/research/workingpapers/file81476.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Department of Economics, SOAS, University of London, UK in its series Working Papers with number 176.

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    Length: 26 pages
    Date of creation: Jan 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:soa:wpaper:176

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    Web page: http://www.soas.ac.uk/economics/
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    Related research

    Keywords: Economics and ethics; heterodox critique of mainstream; social capital;

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    References

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    1. Ben Fine, 2009. "The economics of identity and the identity of economics?," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(2), pages 175-191, March.
    2. Robert W. Dimand, 2011. "Emily Greene Balch, Political Economist," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(2), pages 464-479, 04.
    3. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics And Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753, August.
    4. Carter, Scott, 2012. "C.E. Ferguson’S Lost Reply To Joan Robinson On The Theory Of Capital," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 34(01), pages 21-41, March.
    5. Scott Carter, 2011. ""On the Cobb-Douglas and all that ": the Solow-Simon correspondence over the aggregate neoclassical production function," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 34(2), pages 255-274, January.
    6. Nuno Martins, 2011. "The Revival of Classical Political Economy and the Cambridge Tradition: From Scarcity Theory to Surplus Theory," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(1), pages 111-131.
    7. J. B. Glattfelder & S. Battiston, 2009. "Backbone of complex networks of corporations: The flow of control," Papers 0902.0878, arXiv.org, revised Aug 2009.
    8. Gerald Epstein & Jessica Carrick-Hagenbarth, 2010. "Financial Economists, Financial Interests and Dark Corners of the Meltdown: It’s Time to Set Ethical Standards for the Economics Profession," Working Papers wp239_revised, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    9. Ben Fine, 2008. "Vicissitudes of Economics Imperialism," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 66(2), pages 235-240.
    10. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
    11. Jessica Carrick-Hagenbarth & Gerald A. Epstein, 2012. "Dangerous interconnectedness: economists' conflicts of interest, ideology and financial crisis," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(1), pages 43-63.
    12. Scott Carter, 2011. "C.E. Ferguson and the Neoclassical Theory of Capital: A Matter of Faith," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(3), pages 339-356.
    13. Ben Fine, 2011. "The General Impossibility of Neoclassical Economics," Ensayos Revista de Economia, Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, Facultad de Economia, vol. 0(1), pages 1-22, May.
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