Volume X Issue 2

Spring 2017

1. Economics, chrematistics, oikos and polis in Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas

José Luis Cendejas Bueno.
In Aristotle’s thought, economic activity refers to a kind of praxis consisting in allocating the human and material means that constitute the oikos –the domestic community- to fulfil its natural ends: ensure both life and the means of life. By means of natural chrematistics -acquisitive art- families acquire the necessary means for this, which come from production and exchange. Families group together in the political community (polis) whose end is living well, according to virtues, among which justice is highlighted as the ‘complete virtue’. For its part, the Christian êthos regards every human act, internal and external, of this complete system (polis, oikos and chrematistics) as tending towards its ultimate purpose (beatitudo). In St. Thomas’s view, eternal law harmonizes necessity of irrational beings, loving God’s action (divine law), natural law, and the contingency of ‘human things’ where the economy is included. Trading activity is lawful if it is at the service of the oikos or polis and according to how is exercised, by following commutative justice. The family, political and religious character of human nature establishes what the natural-necessary consists of, embracing, apart from bodily goods, others derived from considering social status and the life chosen (civil, religious, active or contemplative). Economic activity based on this anthropological root has a specific place as a part of an ordered natural-legal totality that provides the […]
Section: Articles

2. 'Growth in a Time of Debt' as an example of the logical-positivist science

Mariusz Maziarz.
The paper addresses the question whether the now- infamous piece of econometric research conducted by Reinhart and Rogoff (2010) that set the threshold hypothesis in the relation between public debt and economic growth was conducted in accordance with the neopositivist doctrine. The article consists of two parts. First, the epistemic advice given by logical positivism is reconstructed and operationalized. Second, the cliometric method employed by Reinhart and Rogoff (2010) is analyzed. The answer to the research question is affirmative. ‘Growth in a Time of Debt’ is a piece of logical-positivist science because (1) the research is data-based and aimed at confirming the results, (2) its authors are committed to the neopositivist theory-observation distinction, (3) its goal is describing an empirical generalization and the result’s interpretations suggest that (4) Reinhart and Rogoff (2010) understand causality in a reductionist way, as a constant conjunction.
Section: Articles

3. The dominion of means over ends. Modern bank credit and Max Weber's irrational rationalization

Domenico Cortese.
The institutions which grant credit today can be considered to be an example of what Max Weber describes as the typical rationalization of modern age. Such a rationalization would bring a lack of reflection on what should be the ultimate significance of certain technical means, which are confused with a value-in-itself of a social context. The paper highlight the fact that the function of credit consistent with individuals’ ‘ultimate ends’ seems to be that of a temporal coordination between the ‘bargaining wills’ of different individuals who aim at obtaining the highest benefit by means of the utility of their products and the products of their peers. But the current epoch has favored the elevation of historically determined features of credit-issuing to ultimate ends. Referring, among other sources, to a report by the Bank of England and to studies by Neo-Keynesian authors such as Stiglitz, this essay establishes that the consequence of the current private structure of credit-issuing is that the ultimate end of credit does not coincide with maximization and economic reciprocity but with the assessment of a risk which is distinctly private. Also, since in this structure Central Bank acts as the bank of all commercial banks, credit granting can be read as being in function of the availability – within a circumscribed economic web – of a specific credit ‘raw material’ which has a price: central bank’s liquidity. This situation puts a deep […]
Section: Articles

4. Economic theory in historical perspective

Lefteris Tsoulfidis.
On the methodological plain this paper outlines the conditions that contribute to the development of economic theories and it continues with an examination of the concrete circumstances that gave rise to modern neoclassical macroeconomic theories. The paper further claims that the current impasse in macroeconomics is indicative of the need for new directions in economic theory which becomes imperative in the long economic downturn that started in 2007 and concludes by suggesting the need for a synthesis between the classical analysis and the theory of effective demand.
Section: Articles

5. Review of Ajit Sinha, A Revolution in Economic Theory: The Economics of Piero Sraffa, Palgrave Macmillan, 2016, x + 244 pages, ISBN 978-3319306155

Romar Correa.
Section: Book reviews