Volume XVII

Annual issue 2024 (in progress)

1. Perspectives on interpersonal utility comparisons: an analysis of selected models

Afschin Gandjour.
Recently, new models for comparing the strength of individual preferences have been proposed. This perspective article discusses these models within the context of different accounts of how people attribute mental states to others. The paper highlights that the new models share a common shortcoming with Harsanyi’s Equiprobability Model of Moral Value Judgments, which is the inability to facilitate interpersonal comparisons of preference strengths.
Section: Articles

2. Plato, Aristotle, and Locke on the accumulation of wealth and natural law

José Luis Cendejas Bueno.
The possibility of a growing accumulation of wealth, what we now refer to as economic growth, was something already considered by Plato, Aristotle and Locke, under the concept of chrematistics. In this paper we show how the economic thinking of these authors cannot be fully understood without considering the intimate relationship they establish between politics and property accumulation. In addition to continuities and ruptures in the arguments, there can be seen a growing understanding of the phenomenon of economic growth in such a way that, when we arrive at Locke, an evident paradigm shift can be appreciated. This change is rooted in the contributions of scholastic thinking for which the acquisition of property through human labour or industry enjoys legitimacy according to natural law.
Section: Articles

3. Agency, functionalism, and all that. A Sraffian view

Sergio Cesaratto.
Former contributions examined the approach to institutions and economic history that can be derived from the classical and Marxian 'surplus approach' as particularly recovered by Piero Sraffa (1951) and Pierangelo Garegnani (1960). The present paper deals with the allegation levelled against historical materialism-and consequently against the surplus approach to institutions-of organicism or functionalism. Organicism is said to look at individuals as passive vectors functionally serving in various capabilities the reproduction and destiny of society as a whole. In this way human agency in the operation and change of society is excluded or at least restrained. Methodological individualism is the traditional alternative supported both by neoclassical and by (some) Marxist schools. The literature over the 'agency versus structure' determination of human behaviour in social and human sciences is immense. I will therefore limit myself to some episodes that may however provide enough food for thought on this field. I shall defend a functionalist view of society while giving space to individual intentional action and aspirations, albeit informed by historical conditioning circumstances. Historical reconstruction of the objective and subjective features of the economic formations under examination, rather than the empty and a-historical study of individual choices, unrelated to the social context, looks like the way to go. Agency must be historically […]
Section: Articles

4. The independence of central banks: a reductio ad absurdum

Ion Pohoață ; Delia-Elena Diaconașu ; Ioana Negru.
This paper testifies to the fact that the proclaimed independence of central banks, as conceived by its founders, is nothing more than a chimera. We demonstrate that the hypothesis ‘inflation is a purely monetary phenomenon’ does not substantiate the case for independence. Further, the portrayal of the conservative central banker, the imaginary principal-agent contract, the alleged financial autonomy, along with the ban on budgetary financing, amount to flawed logic in arguing for the independence of the central bank. We also highlight that the idea of independence is not convincing due to the absence of well-defined outlines in its operational toolbox and the system of rules it relies upon.
Section: Articles

5. The Historicity of Economic Sciences: The Main Epistemological Ruptures

Alain Herscovici.
The object of this work is threefold: it consists (a) in explaining and justifying, based on Foucault's concept of episteme, the epistemological foundations from which Classical Economics, Keynesian Economics and Neoclassical Economics were built; (b) in studying the nature of the epistemological ruptures that allow differentiating these schools; and (c) in defining the degree of incommensurability of these different paradigms. In the first part, I will define the main epistemological tools that allow studying the birth and evolution of science. In the second part, I will study the nature of the epistemological ruptures that characterize these evolutions and these different schools.
Section: The Economists’ Philosophy Day – A Journal of Philosophical Economics celebration of philosophical reflection in the economic science

6. The Economic Cultures of Fear and Love

Frederic Jennings Jr..
In earlier work, the author has studied the economic role of planning horizons in making a case for complementarity as the predominant feature of social interdependence. This paper compares the different choice strategies implied by substitution, opposition and conflicts of interest in an economics of fear with those arising from horizon effects, economic complementarity and concerts of interest in an economics based on love. The contrasting implications of a psychological literature on negative vs. positive emotions and their health effects, along with the findings in neurophysiological research about how humans are hard-wired for empathy and compassion leads to some fundamental changes in how we might address and revise social problems through economic analysis. The aim of this paper is to extend a horizonal case for complementarity in the author's previous work into its psychological links to research findings on healthy cognitive function and its emotional basis. An economics of substitution yields quite different conclusions about optimal institutional forms and how we address and frame social relations than are implied by an explicitly horizonal economics of complementary social relations. Recent psychological and neurophysiological studies support a horizonal case for complementarity in social relations, showing that our orthodox substitution assumptions and models of competitive equilibrium should be rejected for a renewed economic analysis based on horizonal […]
Section: The Economists’ Philosophy Day – A Journal of Philosophical Economics celebration of philosophical reflection in the economic science

7. Phenomenology and intersubjectivity in political economy: an anti-perfectionist perspective

Stefano Solari.
Anti-perfectionism is a philosophical perspective combining the view of man as an imperfect and non-self-sufficient being with a scientific epistemology based on imperfect knowledge. From an epistemological perspective, it has roots in Socrates and, more recently, in the post-empiricism of Giambattista Vico, up to phenomenology. From an anthropological perspective, it is a philosophical tradition based on an awareness of the constitutive dependency of individual performance and fulfilment of man on his interaction with others. It is conceived in opposition to the individualism and perfect rationality of most social theories. The paper analyses both the philosophical and the epistemological premises of anti-perfectionism as well as its consequences in terms of economic methodology. It will specifically develop the momentary intersection of phenomenology and Austrian economics. The theory of knowledge and of sense-making of phenomenology will be discussed with particular attention to intersubjectivity, which expresses anti-perfectionism well. The interpretations of human knowledge and action of Scheler and Schütz are analysed and connected to some contemporary streams of Austrian economics.
Section: The Economists’ Philosophy Day – A Journal of Philosophical Economics celebration of philosophical reflection in the economic science