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What Is Neoclassical Economics? The three axioms responsible for its theoretical oeuvre, practical irrelevance and, thus, discursive power

Author

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  • Christian Arnsperger

    (University of Louvain, Belgium)

  • Yanis Varoufakis

    (University of Athens, Greece)

Abstract

This paper offers a precise definition of neoclassical economics based on three axioms which lie at the latters foundations. This definition is all inclusive in that it applies as much to the neoclassical economic models of the late 19th century as it does to todays more flexible and inclusive models. The paper argues that these axioms, simultaneously, (a) provide the foundation for neoclassicisms discursive success within the social sciences and (b) are the deep cause of its theoretical failure. Moreover, (a) and (b) reinforce one another as neoclassicisms discursive power (which is largely due to the hidden nature of its three foundational axioms) makes it even less likely that it will con-duct an open, pluralist debate on its theoretical foundations (i.e. the three axioms which underpin it).

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Arnsperger & Yanis Varoufakis, 2006. "What Is Neoclassical Economics? The three axioms responsible for its theoretical oeuvre, practical irrelevance and, thus, discursive power," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 53(1), pages 5-18, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:voj:journl:v:53:y:2006:i:1:p:5-18
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Fix, Blair, 2020. "Economic Development and the Death of the Free Market," Working Papers on Capital as Power 2020/01, Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism.
    2. Fix, Blair, 2020. "Economic Development and the Death of the Free Market," SocArXiv g86am, Center for Open Science.
    3. Beckenbach, Frank, 2019. "Monism in modern science: The case of (micro-)economics," Working Paper Series Ök-49, Cusanus Hochschule für Gesellschaftsgestaltung, Institut für Ökonomie.
    4. Senderski, Marcin, 2014. "Ecumenical foundations? On the coexistence of Austrian and neoclassical views on utility," MPRA Paper 67024, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Francisco Lozano & Jonathan Moreno, 2018. "¿Se comparte la misma idea al utilizar el término Neoclasicismo?," Revista Cuadernos de Economía, Universidad Nacional de Colombia -FCE - CID, vol. 37(73), February.
    6. Kakarot-Handtke, Egmont, 2015. "Essentials of Constructive Heterodoxy: Behavior," MPRA Paper 64035, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Grégoire Wallenborn, 2018. "Rebounds Are Structural Effects of Infrastructures and Markets," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/277828, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    8. Deniz Kellecioglu, 2017. "How to transform economics? A philosophical appraisal," The Journal of Philosophical Economics, Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, The Journal of Philosophical Economics, vol. 11(1), pages 1-26, November.
    9. Marie Briguglio & Charity-Joy Acchiardo & Dirk Mateer & Wayne Geerling, 2020. "Behavioral economics in film: Insights for educators," Journal of Behavioral Economics for Policy, Society for the Advancement of Behavioral Economics (SABE), vol. 4(1), pages 17-28, December.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Neoclassical economics; Methodological individualism; Methodological instrumentalism; Methodological equilibration.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • B13 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Neoclassical through 1925 (Austrian, Marshallian, Walrasian, Wicksellian)
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology

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