IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Mathematical Formalism and Political-Economic Content


  • D. Foley.


Mathematical methods are only one moment in a layered process of theory generation in political economy, which starts from Schumpeterian vision, progresses to the identification of relevant abstractions, the development of mathematical and quantitative models, and the confrontation of theories with empirical data through statistical methods. But today the relevant abstract problems of political economy are modified to fit available mathematical tools. The role of empirical research in disciplining theoretical speculation, on which the scientific tradition’s integrity rests, was undermined by specific limitations of nascent econometric methods, and usurped by ex cathedra methodological fiats of theorists. These developments­ ­systematically favored certain ideological predispositions of economics­ as a ­discipline. There is abundant room for New Thinking in political economy starting from the vision of the capitalist economy as a complex, adaptive system far from equilibrium, including the development of the theory of statistical fluctuations for economic interactions, redirection of macroeconomics and financial economics from path prediction toward an understanding of the qualitative properties of the system, introduction of constructive and computable methods into economic modeling­, and the critical reconstruction of econometric statistical methods.

Suggested Citation

  • D. Foley., 2012. "Mathematical Formalism and Political-Economic Content," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 7.
  • Handle: RePEc:nos:voprec:2012-07-5

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

    More about this item


    mathematical methods; economic methodology; formalism; models.;

    JEL classification:

    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • B23 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Econometrics; Quantitative and Mathematical Studies
    • B40 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - General


    Access and download statistics


    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:nos:voprec:2012-07-5. 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: (Sergei Parinov). General contact details of provider: .

    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.