Volume XIII Issue 1

Autumn 2019

1. The resilience of modern neoclassical economics -a case study in the light of Ludwik Fleck's 'harmony of deception'

Arne Heise.
In this paper, Ludwick Fleck’s philosophy and sociology of science will be briefly outlined in order to establish a ‘theory of the resilience of scientific misapprehension’. This theory will be use in order to gain insights into the modes of operation of defence and resilience of modern neoclassical economics in the face of recent harsh critique by singling out a case of extreme deviation of theoretical prediction from empirical evidence: minimum wages’ impact on employment.

2. Reconsidering economics in relation to sustainable development and democracy

Peter Söderbaum.
The challenge of sustainable development can be approached from different angles. In this essay it is argued that one also needs to examine the present close to monopoly position of neoclassical economic theory at university departments of economics in many parts of the world. An open debate is needed about paradigms in economics as well as ideological orientations.An alternative to neoclassical theory is outlined where individuals and organizations are regarded as political actors, each guided by an ideological orientation or mission. Reference is made to the 17 UN sustainable development goals suggesting that impacts need to be seen in multidimensional terms and an alternative definition of economics as “multidimensional management of limited resources in a democratic society” is proposed. It is argued that economics need to move away from its technocracy-oriented tendencies to democracy-oriented approaches. This is exemplified by a move away from neoclassical Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) to Positional Analysis as approach to decision-making and sustainability assessment.

3. The unrealistic realist philosophy. The ontology of econometrics revisited

Mariusz Maziarz.
The argument put forth in this article shows that the hitherto scientific-realist approaches to econometrics are incongruent with the realistically reconstructed empirical macroeconomics. The SR approaches share in common being realist about the relations depicted by (successful) models. The economic models of data are sensitive to minor changes in sample and estimating methods what creates the 'emerging contrary result' phenomenon: the community of econometricians accept models that are inconsistent. Being SR about econometrics equals committing oneself to the following trilemma: (1) it is feasible to indicate the successful models that rightly isolate/idealize the regularities of the economy (the knowledge thesis); (2) econometric models are about the economic world (the independence thesis); and, at least in some areas of application, (3) successful econometric models contradict each other.

4. Economic essays (part one): toward a realistic concept of choice

Frederic Jennings Jr..
These essays were originally drafted 30 years ago between 1988 and 1990, and then they were filed away and rediscovered just this year. They represented an attempt to offer a simple and unadorned version of fundamental issues in economics pertaining to our urgent need for a realistic concept of choice on which to found our constructions. The first essay introduces the notion of ‘opportunity cost’ and our use of caeteris paribus in the process of partial analysis. The second essay offers two metaphors for economic behavior: the ‘neighborhood store’ where virtually all neoclassical choice occurs; and the ‘chessboard’ that opens three issues simply ignored in orthodox settings. The third essay addresses the problem of interdependence, since choice in this setting confronts our range of awareness as bounded where outcomes spread forever with externalities everywhere, ruling out additivity.

5. A Review of Piero Ferri, Minsky’s Moment. An Insider’s View on the Economics of Hyman Minsky, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2019, 252 pp., ISBN 978-1-78897-372-4

Andreas Stamate-Stefan.