IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The System Paradigm


  • J??nos Kornai


The introduction explains the sense in which the concept of a paradigm, whose originator, T.S. Kuhn, was inspired by the history of the national sciences, is applied to the context of the social sciences. Here the new paradigm does not necessarily replace the old; several paradigms may function effectively side by side. The milestones in the development of the system paradigm have been the works of Marx, Mises, Hayek, Pol??nyi, Schumpeter and Eucken. Although these make a heterogeneous list in terms of their philosophies and political positions, they share a 'system approach'. They deal not just with individual details of the economy but with the system as a whole, and not just with the economy but with the political, ideological and social dimensions, paying special heed to the interactions between each sphere. The great task for the system paradigm is to study the post-socialist transition. For this, it is indispensable; its explanatory power cannot be replaced by any other paradigm. On the other hand, those applying the system paradigm (like the exponents of other paradigms) are often gravely mistaken. The predictive force of the system paradigm is limited, which urges modesty upon those who employ it.

Suggested Citation

  • J??nos Kornai, 1998. "The System Paradigm," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 278, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  • Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:1998-278

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kornai, Janos, 1992. "The Socialist System: The Political Economy of Communism," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198287766.
    2. S. Fisher & R. Sahay & C. A. Vegh, 1997. "Stabilization and Growth in Transition Economies: The Early Experience," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 5.
    3. Portes, Richard, 1994. "Transformation Traps," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(426), pages 1178-1189, September.
    4. McCloskey, Donald N, 1983. "The Rhetoric of Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 481-517, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Kirdina, Svetlana, 2012. "A shift in the prevailing institutional models of the global order:is a new cycle starting?," MPRA Paper 42999, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Багриновский К.А. & Никонова А.А. & Соколов Н.А., 2016. "Методы Технологической Трансформации Производственной Системы," Журнал Экономика и математические методы (ЭММ), Центральный Экономико-Математический Институт (ЦЭМИ), vol. 52(1), pages 3-19, январь.
    3. Yury I. Alexandrov & Svetlana G. Kirdina, 2013. "Toward Integration Of Social Mental And Institutional Models: Systemic Approach," Montenegrin Journal of Economics, Economic Laboratory for Transition Research (ELIT), vol. 9(1), pages 7-16.
    4. Mehrdad Vahabi, 2001. "The Soft Budget Constraint: A Theoretical Clarification," Post-Print hal-00629160, HAL.
    5. Kleiner, George, 2011. "Ресурсная Теория Системной Организации Экономики
      [The Resource-Based View and the System Organization of Economy]
      ," MPRA Paper 36749, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Anthony Evans, 2010. "Austrian economics behind the iron curtain: The rebirth of an intellectual tradition," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 23(3), pages 243-268, September.
    7. Svetlana Kirdina, 2012. "From Marxian School Of Economic Thought To System Paradigm In Economic Studies: The Institutional Matrices Theory," Montenegrin Journal of Economics, Economic Laboratory for Transition Research (ELIT), vol. 8(2), pages 53-71.

    More about this item


    socialist system; capitalist system; systemic change; comparative economics;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    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:wdi:papers:1998-278. 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: (WDI). General contact details of provider: .

    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.