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Self-Interest and the New Bashing of Economics: A fresh Opportunity in the Perennial Debate?

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  • Kirzner Israel M.

    (New York University)

Abstract

A spate of recent attacks on the rationality assumption in economic theory is noticed. Some of these attacks are fresh and, in many ways, original, but the central ideas underlying them are not new. They appear to have been provoked by the direction in which much of mainstream economics has been moving in recent years. On the other hand, it is suggested here, certain developments in contemporary economics, associated primarily with the revival of interest in the Austrian paradigm, offer a fresh understanding of the way in which the rationality assumption, its role in economics properly understood, is able to meet these old-new attacks.On assiste depuis quelques années à une recrudescence des critiques à l'égard de l'hypothèse de rationalité employée en théorie économique. Certaines de ces critiques sont nouvelles, et originales à bien des égards, mais les idées essentielles qui les sous-tendent sont anciennes. Ces critiques semblent avoir été provoquées par la direction vers laquelle une grande partie du courant dominant en économie a évolué durant ces dernières années. D'un autre côté cependant, certains développements au sein de l'économie contemporaine - des développements essentiellement dus à la renaissance du paradigme autrichien - offrent une compréhension nouvelle de la manière dont l'hypothèse de rationalité est capable de résister à ces critiques anciennes/nouvelles - si on comprend correctement le rôle joué par cette hypothèse en théorie économique.

Suggested Citation

  • Kirzner Israel M., 2004. "Self-Interest and the New Bashing of Economics: A fresh Opportunity in the Perennial Debate?," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 14(1), pages 1-16, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:jeehcn:v:14:y:2004:i:1:n:6
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