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On the Theoretical and Practical Relevance of the Concept of Gift to the Development of a Non-imperialist Economics

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  • Mario A. Cedrini
  • Roberto Marchionatti

Abstract

There is growing awareness of the need for interdisciplinary research on complex issues, but also of the obstacles that historical boundaries between social disciplines pose to such dialogue. It is increasingly recognized that the somewhat constitutive autonomy, the progressive autonomization, and finally the “imperialism†of economics have severely reduced the possibility of interdisciplinary discussion. This paper is a first step towards developing a research program on the foundations of a non-imperialist economics. It investigates gift exchange as a missed opportunity for economics. It aims at showing that, by refusing to tackle the complexity of the gift, economics has not only lost an opportunity to develop a method suitable for the analysis of complex problems, but has voluntarily chosen not to follow a path which would have prevented it from colonizing other disciplines. Reintroducing the concept of gift into the economic discourse may thus represent a required precondition to produce an innovating discourse on economics.

Suggested Citation

  • Mario A. Cedrini & Roberto Marchionatti, 2017. "On the Theoretical and Practical Relevance of the Concept of Gift to the Development of a Non-imperialist Economics," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 49(4), pages 633-649, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:reorpe:v:49:y:2017:i:4:p:633-649
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    Cited by:

    1. Silvestri, Paolo, 2015. "Anthropology of Freedom and Tax Justice: Between Exchange and Gift. Thoughts for an Interdisciplinary Research Agenda," CESMEP Working Papers 201503, University of Turin.
    2. Silvestri, Paolo, 2018. "Welfare State and Taxation. The Critical Point of Freedom Between Gift and Corruption," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201803, University of Turin.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    economics imperialism; interdisciplinarity; gift; economic methodology; economic thought; complexity;

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • B1 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925

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