IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/rsc/rsceui/2014-11.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Economists as political philosophers : a critique of normative trade theory

Author

Listed:
  • Robert Lepenies

Abstract

Economists are political philosophers. This claim is defended based on an investigation of normative arguments made in economics textbooks. The paper aims to explain, reconstruct and contest the neoclassical vision implicit in mainstream economic trade theory. Analyzing arguments made by international economists from the perspective of political philosophy, I show how the contemporary defence of free markets and trade liberalization is linked to a specific normative ideal of the political and social good.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Lepenies, 2014. "Economists as political philosophers : a critique of normative trade theory," RSCAS Working Papers 2014/11, European University Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:rsc:rsceui:2014/11
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://cadmus.eui.eu/bitstream/handle/1814/31894/MWP_2014_11.pdf?sequence=1
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/1814/31894
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bhagwati, Jagdish N, 1982. "Directly Unproductive, Profit-seeking (DUP) Activities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(5), pages 988-1002, October.
    2. repec:hrv:faseco:34310083 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Panu Kalmi, 2007. "The disappearance of cooperatives from economics textbooks," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 31(4), pages 625-647, July.
    4. Blaug, Mark, 1990. "On the Historiography of Economics," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(01), pages 27-37, March.
    5. Philippe Mongin, 2006. "Value Judgments and Value Neutrality in Economics," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 73(290), pages 257-286, May.
    6. anonymous, 1981. "International economic situation and outlook," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bulletin, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, vol. 44, january/f.
    7. Corden, W.M., 1984. "The normative theory of international trade," Handbook of International Economics,in: R. W. Jones & P. B. Kenen (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 63-130 Elsevier.
    8. Kapstein, Ethan B., 2000. "Winners and Losers in the Global Economy," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(02), pages 359-384, March.
    9. Mark Blaug, 2007. "The Fundamental Theorems of Modern Welfare Economics, Historically Contemplated," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 39(2), pages 185-207, Summer.
    10. Brecher, Richard A. & Choudhri, Ehsan U., 1994. "Pareto gains from trade, reconsidered : Compensating for jobs lost," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3-4), pages 223-238, May.
    11. N. Gregory Mankiw, 2013. "Defending the One Percent," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(3), pages 21-34, Summer.
    12. Mandler, Michael, 2001. "Dilemmas in Economic Theory: Persisting Foundational Problems of Microeconomics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195145755.
    13. Hainmueller, Jens & Hiscox, Michael J., 2006. "Learning to Love Globalization: Education and Individual Attitudes Toward International Trade," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(02), pages 469-498, April.
    14. Dan Johansson, 2004. "Economics Without Entrepreneurship or Institutions: A Vocabulary Analysis of Graduate Textbooks," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 1(3), pages 515-538, December.
    15. Walsh, Vivian, 1994. "Rationality as Self-Interest versus Rationality as Present Aims," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 401-405, May.
    16. N Gregory Mankiw, 2010. "Spreading the Wealth Around: Reflections Inspired by Joe the Plumber," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 285-298.
    17. K. J. Arrow & A. K. Sen & K. Suzumura (ed.), 2002. "Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare," Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 1, number 1.
    18. Kemp, Simon, 2007. "Psychology and opposition to free trade," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(01), pages 25-44, March.
    19. Roderick Hill, 2000. "The Case of the Missing Organizations: Co-operatives and the Textbooks," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(3), pages 281-295, September.
    20. de Roover, Raymond, 1958. "The Concept of the Just Price: Theory and Economic Policy," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(04), pages 418-434, December.
    21. Simon Kemp, 2008. "Lay attitudes to trade with low-wage countries," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 3, pages 335-343, April.
    22. Blaug,Mark, 1997. "Economic Theory in Retrospect," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521577014, August.
    23. Vivian Walsh, 2000. "Smith After Sen," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(1), pages 5-25.
    24. J. R. Hicks, 1941. "The Rehabilitation of Consumers' Surplus," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(2), pages 108-116.
    25. Deepak Lal, 2008. "Introduction to Reviving the Invisible Hand: The Case for Classical Liberalism in the Twenty-first Century," Introductory Chapters,in: Reviving the Invisible Hand: The Case for Classical Liberalism in the Twenty-first Century Princeton University Press.
    26. Sen, Amartya, 1999. "Commodities and Capabilities," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195650389.
    27. Hands,D. Wade, 2001. "Reflection without Rules," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521797962, August.
    28. Sen, Amartya Kumar, 1970. "The Impossibility of a Paretian Liberal," Scholarly Articles 3612779, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    29. Sen, Amartya, 1970. "The Impossibility of a Paretian Liberal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(1), pages 152-157, Jan.-Feb..
    30. Dow, Sheila C., 2000. "Prospects for the Progress of Heterodox Economics," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(02), pages 157-170, June.
    31. Hicks, John R, 1975. "The Scope and Status of Welfare Economics," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(3), pages 307-326, November.
    32. Dobb,Maurice, 1975. "Theories of Value and Distribution since Adam Smith," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521099363, August.
    33. Driskill, Robert, 2012. "Deconstructing The Argument For Free Trade: A Case Study Of The Role Of Economists In Policy Debates," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 28(01), pages 1-30, March.
    34. Backhouse, Roger E., 2000. "Progress in Heterodox Economics," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(02), pages 149-155, June.
    35. Coats, A. W. Bob & Backhouse, Roger E. & Dow, Sheila C. & Fusfeld, Daniel R. & Goodwin, Craufurd D. & Rutherford, Malcolm, 2000. "Roundtable: The Progress of Heterodox Economics," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(02), pages 145-148, June.
    36. anonymous, 1981. "International economic situation and developments," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bulletin, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, vol. 44, August.
    37. Frederic Lee & Steve Keen, 2004. "The Incoherent Emperor: A Heterodox Critique of Neoclassical Microeconomic Theory," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 62(2), pages 169-199.
    38. Bhagwati, Jagdish, 1994. "Free Trade: Old and New Challenges," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(423), pages 231-246, March.
    39. Andrea Maneschi, 2008. "How Would David Ricardo Have Taught The Principle Of Comparative Advantage," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 1167-1176, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Political philosophy; Neoclassical economics; Normative trade theory; Free trade; Efficiency;

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • B21 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Microeconomics
    • B50 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - General
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • F11 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Neoclassical Models of Trade

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    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:rsc:rsceui:2014/11. 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: (RSCAS web unit). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/rsiueit.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.