Volume X Issue 1

Autumn 2016


1. Aristotle on justice in exchange: commensurability by fiat

Mark Peacock.
This essay offers an interpretation of Aristotle's remarks on the commensurability of goods in Book V of the Nicomachean Ethics. It explores the term ‘by hypothesis’ (ἐξ ὑποθέσεως) which Aristotle uses to describe the institution of currency through which commensurability is established. The term implies that Aristotle conceives the origins of currency to lie in a conscious act of stipulation rather than through a spontaneous process in which currency is established via the unintended consequences of individual action. In conclusion, contemporary theories of money are considered and it is asked with which Aristotle’s conception of money aligns most closely.

2. Economic crisis, economic methodology and the scientific ideal of physics

Stavros A. Drakopoulos.
The methodological foundations of mainstream economics have been cited as one of the main reasons for its failure to account for the economic crisis of 2008. In spite of this, the status of economic methodology has not been elevated. This is due to the persistent aversion towards methodological discourse by most mainstream economists. The anti-methodology stance has a long presence as exemplified in Frank Hahn’s (1992) work. After focusing on the debate originating after the publication of Hahn’s arguments, the paper offers a categorization of the main explanations for mainstream methodological aversion. Subsequently, it suggests an explanation based on the role of the physics scientific ideal, arguing that the endeavor to achieve the high scientific status of physics by following the methods of physics, contributed to the negative mainstream attitude towards economic methodology. The relevant writings of the extremely influential mainstream economists Irving Fisher and Milton Friedman, reinforce the assertion that the alleged hard science status of economics renders methodological discussions and especially methodological criticism, rather pointless. The paper also calls for a more systematic discussion of this issue, especially in the wake of the line of argument that links the recent failings of mainstream economics to its methodological basis.

3. Planning horizons as an ordinal entropic measure of organization

Frederic Jennings Jr..
Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen (1971) educated economists on the notion of entropy laws in economics and ecological process. An earlier paper by Kenneth E. Boulding (1962) asked what we might do with a measure of organizational entropy, were one ever devised. The aim of this paper is to propose the notion of planning horizons as a candidate for this role. First, the concept of organizational entropy is discussed and defined within the interdependent domain of ecological economics. Next, the character and contributions of an entropic measure of organization are reviewed, as described in Boulding’s work. Third, the concept of planning horizons – and their relation to economic cohesion, efficiency and well-being – is introduced to show how ‘horizon effects’ (shifts in planning horizons) serve as an ordinal entropic measure of organization in dynamic complex settings of interdependent effects. Last, the promise of planning horizons as a new social research program in ecological economics shall be discussed.

4. 'Why has economics turned out this way?' A socio-economic note on the explanation of monism in economics

Arne Heise.
Economic science has – lamented by some, applauded by others – turned into a monistic discipline. In this short research note, a socio-economic answer to the question of why this has happened is provided by combining an economic approach to the market for economic ideas with a sociological approach to a scientific (power) field.

5. Review of Altug Yalcintas, Intellectual Path Dependence in Economics: Why economists do not reject refuted theories, Routledge, 2016, hb, xiv + 173 pages, ISBN 978-1-138-01617-0

Valentin Cojanu.

6. Review of Mary Godwin, Ethics and Diversity in Business Management Education. A Sociological Study with International Scope, Heidelberg, Springer-Verlag, 2015, eb, x + 94 pages, ISBN 978-3-662-46654-4

Stipe Buzar.