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Conflitto sociale e incomparabilità dei beni (Social conflict and incomparability of goods)

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Abstract

According to mainstream economics, rational agents choose among alternatives that are supposed to be ranked and compared. This assumption is strongly criticized by sociologists and anthropologists; it may partly hold true only when the commercial transactions sphere establishes a uniform measure: money. But what happens when a community compares social goods supplied by different institutional spheres? The rigorous equalization of any rate of exchange is replaced by a system of conventional equivalences. This system is temporary, since it changes as collective beliefs evolve; it is conflictual, because the "rates of conversion" between social goods often express relations of power among the groups themselves; and finally it is unstable, because individuals tend to develop private "rates of conversion” that are different from the collective ones. This system, despite its fragility, is a crucial tool of reproduction of a complex society. This essay discusses and analyzes some aspects of the issue.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicolò Bellanca, 2008. "Conflitto sociale e incomparabilità dei beni (Social conflict and incomparability of goods)," Working Papers - Economics wp2008_02, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa.
  • Handle: RePEc:frz:wpaper:wp2008_02
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Incomparability; Rational Choice; Money; Conflict; Participation;

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • P51 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Analysis of Economic Systems
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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