nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2011‒07‒02
twelve papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. Advertising, Welfare Economics and Ethics By Ian Steedman
  2. Classical vs. Neoclassical Conceptions of Competition By Lefteris Tsoulfidis
  3. The state’s existence between facts and norms: A reflection on some problems to the analysis of the state By Daniel Gaus
  4. Exploitation and its unintended outcomes. An axiomatic obituary for Marx’s surplus value. By Kakarot-Handtke, Egmont
  5. Beyond the market-institutions dichotomy: The institutionalism of Douglass C. North in response to Karl Polanyi's challenge By Claude Didry; Caroline Vincensini
  6. Examining resilience and vulnerability as concepts conditional upon human values: a review By de Chazal, Jacqueline
  7. The End of the “Liberal Theory of History”? Dissecting the U.S. Congress’ Discourse on China’s Currency Policy By Nicola Nymalm
  9. Verwilderungen des sozialen Konflikts: Anerkennungskämpfe zu Beginn des 21. Jahrhunderts By Honneth, Axel
  10. The Happiness-Income Paradox Revisited By Easterlin, Richard A.; Angelescu McVey, Laura; Switek, Malgorzata; Sawangfa, Onnicha; Zweig, Jacqueline Smith
  11. A Testable Theory of Imperfect Perception By Andrew Caplin; Daniel Martin
  12. Intersubjective meaning and collective action in'fragile'societies : theory, evidence and policy implications By Gauri, Varun; Woolcock, Michael; Desai, Deval

  1. By: Ian Steedman
    Keywords: Length 31 pages
    JEL: B
    Date: 2011–06
  2. By: Lefteris Tsoulfidis (Department of Economics, University of Macedonia)
    Abstract: This article discusses two major conceptions of competition, the classical and the neoclassical. In the classical conception, competition is viewed as a dynamic rivalrous process of firms struggling with each other over the expansion of their market shares. This dynamic view of competition characterizes mainly the works of Smith, Ricardo, J.S. Mill and Marx; a similar view can be also found in the writings of Austrian economists and the business literature. By contrast, the neoclassical conception of competition is derived from the requirements of a theory geared towards static equilibrium and not from any historical observation of the way in which firms actually organize and compete with each other.
    Keywords: Classical Competition, Regulating Capital, Incremental Rate of Return, Rate of Profit, Perfect Competition.
    JEL: B12 B13 B14 L11
    Date: 2011–11
  3. By: Daniel Gaus
    Abstract: The state’s mode of existence is still a problem to political science analysis. How can we decide if a political order (for example the EU) is a state or not? This paper discusses the ontological quality of the state and what follows from that to its analysis. It is suggested to view the state in terms of an everyday theory operating in historical societies. As a consequence, three perspectives are logically related in the analysis of the state: a normative, a sociological and a genealogical perspective. The paper illustrates how a full account of the state is dependent on a systematic cooperation between the disciplines of political theory, sociology and the history of ideas.
    Keywords: ideas; methodological issues; Nation-state; normative political theory
    Date: 2011–06–15
  4. By: Kakarot-Handtke, Egmont
    Abstract: The present paper scrutinizes the logical foundation of Marx’s dialectic analysis of the evolving money economy. The minimalistic frame of reference is thereby given with the set of structural axioms. It turns out, first, that the commonplace notion of exploitation has to be replaced by crossover exploitation among capitalists and workers; second, that the concept of surplus value cannot explain the existence and magnitude of overall profits; finally, that the real shares of output are determined in the spheres of income and expenditure and not, as classical, Marxian and neoclassical economists unanimously maintain, in the sphere of production.
    Keywords: New framework of concept;; Structure-centric; Axiom set; Antagonism of profits and wages; Crossover exploitation; Surplus value; Axiom of reals
    JEL: E25 B14 E11 B41
    Date: 2011–06–23
  5. By: Claude Didry (IDHE - Institutions et Dynamiques Historiques de l'Economie - CNRS : UMR8533 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I - Université Paris VIII Vincennes-Saint Denis - Université de Paris X - Nanterre - École normale supérieure de Cachan - ENS Cachan); Caroline Vincensini (IDHE - Institutions et Dynamiques Historiques de l'Economie - CNRS : UMR8533 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I - Université Paris VIII Vincennes-Saint Denis - Université de Paris X - Nanterre - École normale supérieure de Cachan - ENS Cachan)
    Abstract: On the basis of the "challenge" North [1997 (1977)] identified in the works of Polanyi, we propose to outline the originality of North's institutionalism, especially in comparison with "new institutionalism" in economics as well as in sociology. Far from endorsing the dichotomy between market and non market dimensions of economic activities at the basis of the analyses of Williamson and Granovetter, North's definition of institutions as "rules of the game" allows him to conceive of institutions as the institutional foundations of the market and therefore as explanatory principles of historical dynamics.
    Keywords: institutions, institutionalism, North, Polanyi, Williamson, Granovetter
    Date: 2011–03–02
  6. By: de Chazal, Jacqueline
    Abstract: Whilst there has been progress in understanding the role that values play in determinations of vulnerability and resilience, I suggest some key points continue to be overlooked. I offer three propositions to describe how values underpin such concepts, summarised as âno fixed characterizationâ, âno fixed relationshipsâ and âno fixed trendsâ. These propositions are not new and have been made in other contexts. Based on a literature review of vulnerability and resilience in the global environmental change area, I elaborate on how these propositions are not adequately accommodated, in particular in relation to ideas of biophysical and social vulnerability, specified versus general resilience, and assignments of desired trend direction (increasing resilience or decreasing vulnerability). I conclude that irrespective of the concept label, characterisations and assessments of ecosystems and their attendant change are inescapably dependent on values.
    Keywords: Environmental Economics and Policy,
    Date: 2010–12
  7. By: Nicola Nymalm (GIGA Institute of Latin American Studies)
    Abstract: In the last ten years, economic issues related to currency policy have become the major ongoing dispute between China and the U.S. Especially the U.S. Congress is stridently demanding a tougher policy to avert the negative consequences for the U.S. economy of “unfair” Chinese policies in the form of a “manipulated currency.” Building on an analytical framework of discourse theory (DT)—and furthermore proposing a method for applying DT in empirical research— an investigation of the congressional debates on the Chinese currency shows that the question is not a purely economic one, but that it reflects a dislocation of U.S. identity as the vanguard of liberal-democratic capitalism. This implicates changes in regard to how “liberal” identity in the U.S. is constructed in relation to the role attributed to “illiberal” China, which in turn affects the formulation of China policy by the U.S. Congress.
    Keywords: China, U.S. Congress, economy, currency, identity, liberalism, discourse theory, discourse analysis
    Date: 2011–06
  8. By: Gilles Campagnolo; Christel Vivel
    Abstract: In the present paper we are going to examine texts by Werner Sombart and Friedrich von Wieser on entrepreneurship and the capitalist economy using an interdisciplinary approach focused on economics but also dealing with economic sociology and political philosophy. We believe that both authors have been largely neglected, thus overlooking the main source of the theory of the entrepreneur in debates held in German language and between Germany and Austria around the 1900s. Without excluding earlier major references (such as Jean-Baptiste Say, the first French economist at the Collège de France) we shall demonstrate that for both our authors the entrepreneur is the keystone of a renewed understanding of capitalism and the modern economy of their times. They stressed the origins, functions and roles of the entrepreneur and showed that there cannot exist only a single entrepreneurial form but there must necessarily be several ones, depending on the context. Two lessons can be drawn from their texts: 1/ the entrepreneur’s action needs to be reinstalled in the social, economic and institutional context; 2/ the results of the actions of entrepreneurs are inherently difficult to predict because the action responds to institutional changes and is the outcome of such changes.
    Date: 2011–06
  9. By: Honneth, Axel
    Abstract: In einigen seiner materialen Analysen hat Talcott Parsons die Etablierung moderner Gesellschaften als einen Prozess der Ausdifferenzierung von verschiedenen Sphären der wechselseitigen Anerkennung beschrieben. Im Ausgang von diesen anerkennungstheoretischen Teilen der Gesellschaftsanalyse Parsons skizziere ich in meinem Beitrag einige Züge des sozialen Konflikts in der jüngsten Gegenwart. Dabei gehe ich von dem Bild aus, das Parsons von den Anerkennungskämpfen gegeben hat, welche sich zu seiner Zeit in den hochindustrialisierten Gesellschaften des Westens abgespielt haben (1). Parsons' Diagnose normativ geordneter Anerkennungskonflikte dient im zweiten Schritt als Hintergrund, um einige der gesellschaftlichen Tendenzen herauszuarbeiten, die im letzten Drittel des 20. Jahrhunderts zu einer schleichenden Untergrabung der von Parsons angenommenen pazifizierenden Ausgleichsregelungen geführt haben (2). Das vorläufige Ergebnis dieser Auflösungserscheinungen stelle ich im letzten Schritt meiner Überlegungen vor, indem ich Phänomene einer Verwilderung des sozialen Konflikts beschreibe; gemeint ist damit ein gesellschaftlicher Zustand, in dem die Bestrebungen nach sozialer Anerkennung ausufern und anomisch werden, weil sie in den systemisch vorgesehenen Handlungssphären keine normativ gerechtfertigte Befriedigung mehr finden (3). Der Beitrag zeigt die gesellschaftstheoretische Zentralstellung des Begriffs der Anerkennung auf, indem er diesen im Anschluss an Parsons für eine Analyse des gegenwärtigen Strukturwandels sozialer Konflikte fruchtbar macht. -- In several of his analyses, Talcott Parsons describes the establishment of modern societies as a differentiation process across spheres of mutual recognition. In this paper, I use Parsons' social theory of recognition to examine features of recent social conflicts. I begin with Parsons' description of the struggles for recognition that took place during his lifetime in the highly industrialized societies of the west (1). I then use Parsons' view of normatively ordered recognition conflicts to point out societal trends that led, in the final third of the twentieth century, to a gradual undermining of the pacification structures postulated by Parsons (2). An initial outcome of this apparent disintegration I describe as a barbarization of social conflict. By this I mean a state of society where struggles for social recognition escalate and become anomic because resolution can no longer be found in the existing systemic spheres of negotiation (3). This paper shows the importance of the term recognition to social theory by following Parsons' theory in analyzing structural transformations that are currently emerging in response to social conflicts.
    Date: 2011
  10. By: Easterlin, Richard A. (University of Southern California); Angelescu McVey, Laura (University of Southern California); Switek, Malgorzata (University of Southern California); Sawangfa, Onnicha (University of Southern California); Zweig, Jacqueline Smith (University of Southern California)
    Abstract: The striking thing about the happiness-income paradox is that over the long-term – usually a period of 10 y or more – happiness does not increase as a country's income rises. Heretofore the evidence for this was limited to developed countries. This article presents evidence that the long term nil relationship between happiness and income holds also for a number of developing countries, the eastern European countries transitioning from socialism to capitalism, and an even wider sample of developed countries than previously studied. It also finds that in the short-term in all three groups of countries, happiness and income go together, i.e., happiness tends to fall in economic contractions and rise in expansions. Recent critiques of the paradox, claiming the time series relationship between happiness and income is positive, are the result either of a statistical artifact or a confusion of the short-term relationship with the long-term one.
    Keywords: Easterlin Paradox, life satisfaction, subjective well-being
    JEL: I31 O10 O5 D60
    Date: 2011–06
  11. By: Andrew Caplin; Daniel Martin
    Abstract: We introduce a rational choice theory that allows for many forms of imperfect perception, including failures of memory, selective attention, and adherence to simplifying rules of thumb. Despite its generality, the theory has strong, simple, and intuitive implications for standard choice data and for more enriched choice data. The central assumption is rational expectations: decision makers understand the relationship between their perceptions, however limited they may be, and the (stochastic) consequences of their available choices. Our theory separately identifies two distinct "framing" effects: standard effects involving the layout of the prizes (e.g. order in a list) and novel effects relating to the information content of the environment (e.g. how likely is the first in the list to be the best). Simple experimental tests both affirm the basic model and confirm the existence of information-based framing effects.
    JEL: D01
    Date: 2011–06
  12. By: Gauri, Varun; Woolcock, Michael; Desai, Deval
    Abstract: The capacity to act collectively is not just a matter of groups sharing interests, incentives and values (or being sufficiently small), as standard economic theory predicts, but a prior and shared understanding of the constituent elements of problem(s) and possible solutions. From this standpoint, the failure to act collectively can stem at least in part from relevant groups failing to ascribe a common intersubjective meaning to situations, processes and events. Though this is a general phenomenon, it is particularly salient in countries characterized by societal fragility and endemic conflict. We develop a conceptual account of intersubjective meanings, explain its relevance to development practice and research, and examine its implications for development work related to building the rule of law and managing common pool resources.
    Keywords: Corporate Law,Public Sector Corruption&Anticorruption Measures,Cultural Policy,Labor Policies,Population Policies
    Date: 2011–06–01

This nep-hpe issue is ©2011 by Erik Thomson. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
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