IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/wea/econth/v6y2017i1p16.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Bourgeois Ideology and Mathematical Economics – A Reply to Tony Lawson

Author

Listed:
  • Brian O’Boyle

    () (National University of Ireland Galway)

  • Terrence McDonough

    () (National University of Ireland Galway)

Abstract

This paper challenges Tony Lawson's account of the relationship between mainstream economics and ideology along two key axes. First off, we argue that Newtonian physics has been the primary version of pro-science ideology within mainstream economics, rather than mathematics per se. Secondly, we argue that the particular uses of mathematics within mainstream economics have always been ideological in the pro-capitalist sense of the term. In order to defend these claims we develop a line of argument that Lawson has thus far strategically avoided. Namely, we view mainstream economic theory as an integrated theoretical paradigm with intrinsic links to the capitalist economy. Viewed in this way, it becomes clear that Lawson's (trans) historical account of ideology is too general to capture the complexity of the relationship between natural science, mathematics and mainstream methods. Having briefly outlined Lawson's central argument, we highlight the non-mathematical methods underpinning Classical Political Economy. Thereafter, we assess the nature of the mathematics associated with the Marginal Revolution of the 1870s and the Formalist Revolution of the 1950s.

Suggested Citation

  • Brian O’Boyle & Terrence McDonough, 2017. "Bourgeois Ideology and Mathematical Economics – A Reply to Tony Lawson," Economic Thought, World Economics Association, vol. 6(1), pages 16-34, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:wea:econth:v:6:y:2017:i:1:p:16
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://et.worldeconomicsassociation.org/papers/bourgeois-ideology-and-mathematical-economics-a-reply-to-tony-lawson/
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://et.worldeconomicsassociation.org/files/WEA-ET-6-1-OBoyle-McDonough.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Leonidas Montes, 2003. "Smith and Newton: some methodological issues concerning general economic equilibrium theory," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(5), pages 723-747, September.
    2. Tony Lawson, 2013. "What is this 'school' called neoclassical economics?," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 37(5), pages 947-983.
    3. John Marangos, 2002. "A Political Economy Approach to the Neoclassical Model of Transition," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(1), pages 259-276, January.
    4. Blaug, Mark, 2003. "The Formalist Revolution of the 1950s," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 25(02), pages 145-156, June.
    5. Nuno Ornelas Martins, 2012. "Mathematics, Science and the Cambridge Tradition," Economic Thought, World Economics Association, vol. 1(2), pages 1-2, December.
    6. Chick, Victoria & Dow, Sheila C, 2001. "Formalism, Logic and Reality: A Keynesian Analysis," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(6), pages 705-721, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    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:wea:econth:v:6:y:2017:i:1:p:16. 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: (Jake McMurchie). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/worecea.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.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with 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.