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Economics - Unfit for purpose: The Director's Cut

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  • Ben Fine

    () (Department of Economics, SOAS, University of London, UK)

Abstract

This paper is a lengthier and revised version of the Closing Plenary given to the World Congress of the Association of Social Economics, and Cairncross Lecture, University of Glasgow, June, 2012. Mainstream economics is seen as unfit for purpose because of deficiencies that have long been criticised by a marginalised heterodoxy. These include the taking out of the historical and social even if bringing them back in on the basis of a technical apparatus and architecture that is sorely inappropriate. These observations are illustrated in passing reference to social capital but are particularly appropriate for understanding the weakness of ethics within mainstream economics. An alternative is offered through taking various “entanglements†(such as facts and values) as critical point of departure, leading to the suggestion that ethical systems are subject to the 10 Cs – Constructed, Construed, Conforming, Commodified, Contextual, Contradictory, Closed, Contested, Collective and Chaotic.

Suggested Citation

  • Ben Fine, 2013. "Economics - Unfit for purpose: The Director's Cut," Working Papers 176, Department of Economics, SOAS, University of London, UK.
  • Handle: RePEc:soa:wpaper:176
    as

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    File URL: http://www.soas.ac.uk/economics/research/workingpapers/file81476.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Robert W. Dimand, 2011. "Emily Greene Balch, Political Economist," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(2), pages 464-479, April.
    2. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
    3. Ben Fine, 2011. "The General Impossibility of Neoclassical Economics," Ensayos Revista de Economia, Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, Facultad de Economia, vol. 0(1), pages 1-22, May.
    4. Jessica Carrick-Hagenbarth & Gerald A. Epstein, 2012. "Dangerous interconnectedness: economists' conflicts of interest, ideology and financial crisis," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(1), pages 43-63.
    5. Scott Carter, 2011. ""On the Cobb-Douglas and all that …": the Solow-Simon correspondence over the aggregate neoclassical production function," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(2), pages 255-274.
    6. Ben Fine, 2009. "The economics of identity and the identity of economics?," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(2), pages 175-191, March.
    7. Carter, Scott, 2012. "C.E. Ferguson’S Lost Reply To Joan Robinson On The Theory Of Capital," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 34(01), pages 21-41, March.
    8. Gerald Epstein & Jessica Carrick-Hagenbarth, 2010. "Financial Economists, Financial Interests and Dark Corners of the Meltdown: It’s Time to Set Ethical Standards for the Economics Profession," Working Papers wp239_revised, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    9. J. B. Glattfelder & S. Battiston, 2009. "Backbone of complex networks of corporations: The flow of control," Papers 0902.0878, arXiv.org, revised Aug 2009.
    10. Nuno Martins, 2011. "The Revival of Classical Political Economy and the Cambridge Tradition: From Scarcity Theory to Surplus Theory," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(1), pages 111-131.
    11. James E. Alvey, 2011. "Ethics and economics, today and in the past," The Journal of Philosophical Economics, Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, The Journal of Philosophical Economics, vol. 5(1), pages 5-34, November.
    12. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
    13. Ben Fine, 2008. "Vicissitudes of Economics Imperialism," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 66(2), pages 235-240.
    14. Scott Carter, 2011. "C.E. Ferguson and the Neoclassical Theory of Capital: A Matter of Faith," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(3), pages 339-356.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economics and ethics; heterodox critique of mainstream; social capital;

    JEL classification:

    • A10 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - General
    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • 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
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • B50 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - General

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