IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/aecrev/v74y1984i2p89-96.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Against Parsimony: Three Easy Ways of Complicating Some Categories of Economic Discourse

Author

Listed:
  • Hirschman, Albert O

Abstract

Economics as a science of human behavior has been grounded in a remarkably parsimonious postulate: that of the self-interested, isolated individual who chooses freely and rationally between alternative courses of action after computing their prospective costs and benefits. In recent decades, a group of economists has shown considerable industry and ingenuity in applying this way of interpreting the social world to a series of ostensibly noneconomic phenomena, from crime to the family, and from collective action to democracy. The “economic†or “rational-actor†approach has yielded some important insights, but its onward sweep has also revealed some of its intrinsic weaknesses. As a result, it has become possible to mount a critique which, ironically, can be carried all the way back to the heartland of the would-be conquering discipline. That the economic approach presents us with too simpleminded an account of even such fundamental economic processes as consumption and production is the basic thesis of the present paper.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Hirschman, Albert O, 1984. "Against Parsimony: Three Easy Ways of Complicating Some Categories of Economic Discourse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 89-96, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:74:y:1984:i:2:p:89-96
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0002-8282%28198405%2974%3A2%3C89%3AAPTEWO%3E2.0.CO%3B2-4&origin=repec
    File Function: full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to JSTOR subscribers. See http://www.jstor.org for details.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:74:y:1984:i:2:p:89-96. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Michael P. Albert). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.