Book: Gilles Campagnolo, Critique de l’économie politique classique. Marx, Menger et l’Ecole historique allemande (Matériologiques, 2014)

Gilles Campagnolo has recently published a second and expanded edition of his book entitled Critique de l’économie politique classique. Marx, Menger et l’Ecole historique allemande (Matériologiques, 2014, 536 pages). This second edition is the occasion to remind that the first edition of this book was also published in English: Criticisms of Classical Political Economy. Menger, Austrian Economics and the German Historical School (Routledge, 2009; paperback version, same publisher, 2013).

Abstract: The role of the German Historical School and of Carl Menger (founder of the Austrian School) is appraised in this new book. This important period of the history of economics is vital to understand how the discipline developed over the next half-century. Gilles Campagnolo has produced an impressive original work which makes use of rarely seen research by Carl Menger and as such this book will be of interest across several discplines, including history of economic thought, economic methodology, philosophy of science and the history of ideas.

Part I: Opening the gates of Modernity in philosophical, economic and political German thought
1. Philosophers Put Classical Political Economy On Trial
2. Sources of German Political Economy as a Building-Block of National Identity
3. Nonetheless an Ode to “Odious Capitalism”?
Part II: The political economy of mankind and culture (Menschen und Kultur): die Volkswirtschaftslehre
1. The national economics of Germany
2. The economics of state administration or the governance of “administered economics”
3. Interpretations of Marx
Part III: Out of Antiquity again and (re)reading Modernity
1. Aristotle as the ancient philosophical source of Menger’s thinking
2. British political and economic thought as the modern philosophical source of Menger’s ideas
3. The Origins of Austrian Marginalism

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Journal: Politics, Philosophy & Economics, vol. 13/4 (November 2014)

An issue of Politics, Philosophy & Economics has been published recently. It was a special issue dedicated to a symposium on climate change. The table of content is available below (Vol. 13/4):

Thomas Christiano, “Introduction to symposium on climate change“,
Simon Caney, “Climate change, intergenerational equity and the social discount rate“,
Robert O Keohane, Melissa Lane & Michael Oppenheimer, “The ethics of scientific communication under uncertainty“,
Lukas H Meyer & Pranay Sanklecha, “How legitimate expectations matter in climate justice“,
Partha Dasgupta, “Pricing climate change“.

More on this issue:

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Seminar: Petri Ylikoski, November 6th, 2014, TINT (Helsinki, Finland)

On November 6th, Petri Ylikoski (Univeristy of Helsinki) will present one of his works in the Research seminar of TINT (from 2.00 to 4.00 pm, University of Helsinki, Main Building, room 4). The title of his presentation will be Thinking with a bathtub – Understanding the Coleman diagram”.

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Seminar: Martin van Hees, November 3rd, 2014, EIPE (Rotterdam, Netherlands)

On November 3rd, Martin van Hees (University of Groningen) is invited in the research seminar of the Erasmus Institute for Philosophy and Economics (from 5.00 to 6.30 pm, Erasmus University of Rotterdam, Theil Building, C1-4). The title of his presentation will be “Trembling Hands and Moral Responsibility” (joint work with Matthew Braham).

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Working Paper: Andrew M. Yuengert, “The Space between Choice and Our Models of It: Practical Wisdom and Normative Economics”

Andrew M. Yuengert has recently published online a working paper entitled “The Space between Choice and Our Models of It: Practical Wisdom and Normative Economics“.

Abstract: The gap between the economic theory of action and the practical reality of choice (analyzed in the Aristotelian practical wisdom tradition) cannot be bridged through the development of more complex models. This poses a challenge for the use of economic models for policy analysis: they cannot help but leave out of their formal analysis aspects of actual decision making (practical wisdom) which are crucial to the operation of the economy. Insights from three different treatments of the gap between the formal analysis of choice and the reality of human behavior (Suchman’s studies of human-machine interaction, Scott’s analysis of metis, and Vernon Smith’s studies of ecological rationality) offer guidance for how economists might modify the insights of their models of choice when offering policy advice.

Keywords: rational choice, practical wisdom, Aristotle, situated action, metis, ecological rationality.

JEL Classification: A12, A13, D10.

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Working Paper: K. Stuart Birks, “Rethinking Economics: From Analogies to the Real World”

K. Stuart Birks has recently published online a working paper entitled “Rethinking Economics: From Analogies to the Real World“.

Abstract: This author’s version of a forthcoming SpringerBrief responds to the criticism that mainstream economics is currently facing due to its heavy reliance on models and narrow range of quantitative research techniques. It takes a broader view, identifying issues that are also relevant for heterodox and pluralist approaches to economics. By acknowledging that the world of theory is not the same as the reality that we are trying to understand, the brief focuses on three paths that generally receive little attention. These are: from theory to the real world; from theory to empirical analysis; and from empirical results to policy application. Each path highlights a range of related concerns and qualifications, and the focus on these transitions provides a strong basis for critical evaluation of analyses and potentially more realistic results and recommendations. It also provides a framework for synthesizing information from alternative schools of thought and across disciplines. In addition, the importance of framing and rhetoric is demonstrated. The brief addresses philosophical and methodological issues using a clear, non-technical approach that can be easily understood by a non-specialist audience.

Keywords: theory, rhetoric, econometrics, policy, paradigm.

JEL Classification: A1, B4, C1.

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Working Paper: Steven G. Medema, “How Textbooks Create Knowledge and Meaning: The Case of the Coase Theorem in Intermediate Microeconomics”

Steven G. Medema has recently published online a working paper entitled “How Textbooks Create Knowledge and Meaning: The Case of the Coase Theorem in Intermediate Microeconomics“.

Abstract: It is now a commonplace to include a discussion of the Coase theorem in one’s intermediate microeconomics textbook, generally in a chapter devoted to externalities or externalities and public goods. But this was not always the case. As the present paper demonstrates, it took nearly two decades after the publication of “The Problem of Social Cost” for the theorem to become even a reasonably a well-established part of the intermediate textbook literature. Its introduction into this literature raises a host of issues for examination: When did the theorem first appear? How was it stated? Are there variations in the statements of the theorem and its attendant assumptions across authors? When did treatment of it become commonplace? How long did it take the authors of textbooks that did not initially include it to bring the theorem into the discussion? What are the backgrounds (e.g., graduate training, faculty affiliations, research fields, etc.) of authors who incorporated the theorem early on? How was the theorem treated? As a surprising result? A useful one? Negatively? What degree of relevance or applicability was ascribed to it? A host of issues and contrasts emerge from the textbook treatments of the theorem, many of which appear to go to problems entailed in presenting a new and controversial idea, one with a number of nuances that were being teased out in the scholarly literature over the same period — nuances that could be helpful or harmful for the presentation of the theorem to a student audience.

Keywords: Coase theorem, textbooks, externalities, microeconomics.

JEL Classification: A22, B2, D00, K00.

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Working Paper: Ingrid Robeyns, “Capabilitarianism”

Ingrid Robeyns has recently published online a working paper entitled “Capabilitarianism“.

Abstract: Despite the proliferation of scholarly work on the capability approach, and its wide endorsement as a theoretical framework in a variety of applications, there are very few sufficiently detailed accounts of what the capability approach exactly is. This is unfortunate, since a more robust understanding of what the capability approach is, and what it is not, would be beneficial for both the applied and empirical work, as well as a more solid foundation for advanced philosophical analysis. This paper presents an account of the capability approach that provides that basis: the concentric circles account. The concentric circles account allows us to distinguish what belongs to the core of the capability approach and what does not. It also allows us to see that there is a huge range of capabilitarian theories and applications possible, given that the core commitments can be combined with various (and diverse) additional normative and ontological claims in the outer circles. The concentric circles account also enables us to see why the Martha Nussbaum’s description of the capability approach, which is at present the only sufficiently specific account of the capability approach, is biased and misleading.

Keywords: capability approach, ethics, theories of justice, well-being, Amartya Sen, Martha Nussbaum.

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Working Paper: Hak Choi, “The Useless Utility Theory”

Hak Choi has recently published online a working paper entitled “The Useless Utility Theory“.

Abstract: This paper searches through the many syllabi of Economics, but cannot find any valid theory derived by utility method. Utility is a kindergarten teaching of trade-off, and it produces nothing serious. This paper advocates a more serious teaching of trade-on: exchange and production.

Utility has been the foundation of Economics for many years. The School of Salamanca was the first to use it around 1550 (Marjorie Grice-Hutchinson, 1952), but it was due to Bentham (1823) that utility becomes the core of all economics studies. This paper will check all branches of economics, to see whether utility delivers any valid economic theory. It will then offer an alternative approach, to try to derive important theories, like the demand, supply and offer curves.

Keywords: Utility.

JEL Classification: L97.

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Article: Claudio Gnesutta, “If ‘Well-Being’ is the Key Concept in Political Economy…” (Economic Thought)

An article has recently been published by the journal Economic Thought:

Claudio Gnesutta, “If ‘Well-Being’ is the Key Concept in Political Economy…” (ET, vol. 3/2, 2014, pp. 70-81).

Abstract: If ‘well-being’ is to be the key concept in political economy, then economists are placed, from a methodological viewpoint, in an uncomfortable position. A well-being approach requires consideration of several non-economic dimensions strongly interrelated with the economic process, and failure to consider them means that the subsequent economic analysis cannot be based on steadily defined categories and, therefore, economists cannot value the full implications of their policy prescriptions. In  this note, I show how an interrelated economic-social scheme able to analyse (sustainable) well-being calls for a broadening of the range social factors interacting (in short and long term) with market equilibria, and that this entails both new analytical categories a equilibria, and that this entails both new analytical categories and a new socio-economic relations model: in the absence of this apparatus, the effects of economic policies on society are not reliable and, therefore, ought to be systematically subject to a ‘precaution principle’.

Keywords: Well-being, GDP measurement, social accounting, economic policy, economic and social progress.

JEL classification: I31, B41, E01, E02, E51.

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