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Shared economic thought and the neglect of social costs. Why progressive economists often stick to conventional wisdom


  • Paolo Ramazzotti

    (Università di Macerata)


The paper deals with the lack of attention that many socially-minded economists pay to social issues, with social costs being a special case. It argues that while these economists acknowledge that social costs exist and are rooted in the way the economy functions, they do not frame their economic inquiries accordingly because they believe that scientific dialogue is possible only by accepting a commonly shared ground for scientific inquiry, which focuses on restricted but generally accepted goals. This behavior obscures a major implication of systemic openness, i.e. that the choice of goals and the way scientific inquiry is carried out do not depend on once and for all criteria but require the explicit formulation of a range of value judgments. The conclusion of the paper is that it is possible to deal with social issues and to carry out a scientific dialogue but this requires a two tier dialogue: one relates to the shared grounds of inquiry; the other to the specific issues to be investigated.

Suggested Citation

  • Paolo Ramazzotti, 2013. "Shared economic thought and the neglect of social costs. Why progressive economists often stick to conventional wisdom," Working Papers 71-2013, Macerata University, Department of Finance and Economic Sciences, revised Dec 2015.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcr:wpdief:wpaper00071

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Martha Starr, 2012. "Contributions of Economists to the Housing-Price Bubble," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(1), pages 143-172.
    2. Pascal Petit, 2010. "The systemic nature of the rise in inequality in developed economies," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(3), pages 251-267.
    3. Oliver E. Williamson, 1993. "Contested Exchange versus the Governance of Contractual Relations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 103-108, Winter.
    4. 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.
    5. repec:mes:jeciss:v:12:y:1978:i:4:p:771-783 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Jan Kregel, 2009. "Why don't the bailouts work? Design of a new financial system versus a return to normalcy," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(4), pages 653-663, July.
    7. anonymous, 1973. "U.S. energy supplies and uses: staff economic study," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Dec, pages 847-870.
    8. repec:ekm:wpaper:v:24:y:2004:i:1:a:973 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Sheila C. Dow, 1996. "The Methodology of Macroeconomic Thought," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 933.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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