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Introducing Anthropological Foundations of Economic Behavior, Organization, and Control


  • Amavilah, Voxi Heinrich


One of the rude awakenings for economists from the current recession is an emerging understanding that economics has gone wild with its highbrow mathematical models that bear little resemblance to reality. The failure of economics to predict and solve the current global recession, has restored the “dismal science” title to the profession. It stems from the cultish fascination with Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand, centered around the belief in the efficient market hypothesis. This fascination exposes analytical holes in the methodology that economics has followed lately, as economics itself has moved too far away from its key social foundations. This situation is incomprehensible and needs redressing. I compiled a book - Selected Readings on the Anthropological Bases of Economic Behavior, Organization, and Control - to help economists and others get back in touch with their genealogy. This current paper is a watered down version of the introduction to Selected Readings. It concludes that real life is neither as simple nor economic as economic theory sometimes suggests. In fact, and for much of human history, non-economic factors and forces have driven economic activities. Selected Readings provides an opportunity for reinforced focus on economics principles. Alone and detached from its social foundations economics has a future only as fiction. As serious non-fiction, economics cannot successfully divorce itself from its elemental foundations in the social sciences. To advance its theory in the past economics needed to borrow from mathematics and physics. Such learning must continue. However, to remain policy-relevant economics cannot wish away the very social bases upon which it is founded. Without social foundations one might as well kiss economics goodbye.

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  • Amavilah, Voxi Heinrich, 2010. "Introducing Anthropological Foundations of Economic Behavior, Organization, and Control," MPRA Paper 22921, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:22921

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Romer, Paul, 1993. "Idea gaps and object gaps in economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 543-573, December.
    2. Voxi Heinrich Amavilah, 2005. "Resource Intra-Actions And Inter-Actions: Implications For Technological Change And Economic Growth," GE, Growth, Math methods 0508004, EconWPA.
    3. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 71-102, October.
    4. Paul M. Romer, 2010. "Which Parts of Globalization Matter for Catch-up Growth?," NBER Working Papers 15755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Herbert A. Simon, 1996. "The Sciences of the Artificial, 3rd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262691914, January.
    6. Burton G. Malkiel, 2005. "Reflections on the Efficient Market Hypothesis: 30 Years Later," The Financial Review, Eastern Finance Association, vol. 40(1), pages 1-9, February.
    7. Burton G. Malkiel, 2003. "The Efficient Market Hypothesis and Its Critics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 59-82, Winter.
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    Cited by:

    1. Amavilah, Voxi Heinrich, 2017. "The African origins of Euro-American development: Pins on an empirical roadmap," MPRA Paper 79925, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Voxi Heinrich AMAVILAH, 2016. "Social Obstacles to Technology, Technological Change, and the Economic Growth of African Countries: Some Anecdotal Evidence from Economic History," Turkish Economic Review, KSP Journals, vol. 3(2), pages 320-340, June.

    More about this item


    economic behavior; economic organization; economic control; Frank Knight; W. Arthur Lewis; Joan Robinson; Janos Kornai; J. Herskovits; B. Malinowski; anthropological bases;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • Y20 - Miscellaneous Categories - - Introductions and Prefaces - - - Introductions and Prefaces
    • P49 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Other
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology

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