EEA 2011 session: The Role of Economists and Their "Ethics" in the Financial Crisis
Are We All the Same? WEIRD Science

New book: Looking Beyond the Individualism and Homo Economicus of Neoclassical Economics

Mark D. White

Danner A new book published by Marquette University Press titled Looking Beyond the Individualism and Homo Economicus of Neoclassical Economics, edited by Edward J. O'Boyle, pays tribute to Peter L. Danner, a tireless advocate of social economics and past president of the Association for Social Economics.

From the publisher:

The financial meltdown of 2008 exposed major flaws in the way mainstream economists think about economic affairs. According to former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan, “the whole intellectual edifice collapsed.” His reaction was one of “shocked disbelief.”

Looking Beyond the Individualism and Homo Economicus of Neoclassical Economics addresses the need to reconstruct that edifice principally by re-examining the way economists represent the economic agent.

This collection of essays examines in detail the basic defects in homo economicus who, according to the mainstream way of thinking, is a simple machine employing a pleasure-pain calculus to maximize personal net advantage—a never-changing and predictable economic agent essential to the mainstream’s claim that economics is a precise science.

Following Danner, the economic agent is a living, breathing, existential actuality, a complex human person actively engaging in economic affairs in ways that we do not always understand— an ever-changing economic agent who is not at all times predictable. For that reason, economics is not a precise science but one in which we hope to know enough about economic affairs to re-construct an intellectual edifice that will not collapse in the next economic crisis.


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