nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2022‒11‒07
eleven papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. Probability, prudence, danger: Thomas Aquinas on the building of the lexicon of risk By Pierre Januard
  3. The Moral Theory of Value ; A Gift Lemma By Mughal, Adil Ahmad
  4. Complexity research in economics: past, present and future By Nomaler, Önder; Verspagen, Bart
  5. La estructura lógica de la teoría del equilibrio general dinámico estocástico By Tobón Arias, Alexander
  6. Louis Bachelier's Théorie de la spéculation : The missing piece in Walras' general equilibrium By Nicole El Karoui; Antoine Parent; Pierre-Charles Pradier
  7. Crédito, producción y consumo en la teoría monetaria de Hawtrey (1919) By Villarreal Restrepo, Carlos Andrés
  8. Rousseau, Smith, Marx: Reflexiones sobre la riqueza y la renuncia By Adolfo Rodríguez-Herrera; Juliana Mesén-Vargas
  9. Trade Acceptances, Financial Reform, and the Culture of Commercial Credit, 1915-1920 By Myles, Jamieson
  10. Politicians, bankers and the Great Depression: The Spanish banking crisis of 1931 By Jorge-Sotelo, Enrique
  11. Can Economics Become More Reflexive ? Exploring the Potential of Mixed-Methods By Rao,Vijayendra

  1. By: Pierre Januard (PHARE - Philosophie, Histoire et Analyse des Représentations Économiques - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)
    Abstract: The Latin terms commonly used to signify 'risk' are absent from Thomas Aquinas's economic writings. Instead, Aquinas offers a lexicon of probability, prudence and danger. This ternary lexicon brings with it a triple universalisation of risk: first, a universalisation through activity, including the activity of analysis considered as part of economic activity; second, a universalisation through the agents, since everyone-the observer, the co-contractors, the prince and the population-is affected by the risk; and, finally, a partial universalisation of its definition, since the lexicon indicates a risk which is not yet restricted by calculation, as the modern notion is, although some distinctions are already made by Aquinas. However, the lexicon only describes a risk of loss and does not take into account chance of gain.
    Keywords: Thomas Aquinas,scholastics,danger,probability,prudence,risk
    Date: 2022–09–24
  2. By: Jacques Fontanel (CESICE - Centre d'études sur la sécurité internationale et les coopérations européennes - UGA - Université Grenoble Alpes - IEPG - Sciences Po Grenoble - Institut d'études politiques de Grenoble - UGA - Université Grenoble Alpes)
    Abstract: The economic analysis of war remains deeply dependent on expressed or underlying philosophical reflections. Political economy was based on philosophical reflections on life in society, from the mercantilists in search of the power of the Prince to the Marxists, resolute opponents of the class struggle inherent in capitalism, passing through humanist, anarchist, statist or socialist analyses often grouped together under the inaccurate Marxist name of "utopian socialists" and Keynesian reflections giving the State a role that is today rendered so difficult because of regionalization and globalization. The transition from political economy to economic science has progressively disconnected formalized analyses from all forms of conflict between states or within nations. It testifies to the importance still given today to the "invisible hand" and to liberal neo-classical analyses that still value self-interest and the police state as fundamental and optimal bases of economic life. However, the 20th century shows the permanence of conflicts and wars. It is essential today, in order to understand the economy of today, to integrate into economic reflections the functioning of political systems which, under declarations favorable to the functioning of the market economy, continue to exert influences that are similar to mercantilist type policies. Economic development goes hand in hand with the power of the state and vice versa.
    Abstract: L'analyse économique de la guerre reste profondément dépendante de réflexions philosophiques exprimées ou sous-jacentes. L'économie politique était fondée sur des réflexions philosophiques portant notamment sur la vie en société, des mercantilistes à la recherche de la puissance du Prince aux marxistes adversaires résolus de la lutte des classes inhérente au capitalisme, en passant par les analyses humanistes, anarchistes, étatiques ou socialistes souvent regroupées sous la dénomination marxiste inexacte de «socialistes utopiques » et les réflexions keynésiennes donnant à l'Etat un rôle qui lui est aujourd'hui rendu si difficile du fait de la régionalisation et de la globalisation. Le passage de l'économie politique à la science économique a progressivement déconnecté les analyses formalisées de toutes les formes de conflits entre les Etats ou à l'intérieur des Nations. Il témoigne de l'importance accordée encore aujourd'hui à la « main invisible » et aux analyses néo-classiques libérales qui valorisent toujours l'intérêt personnel et l'Etat gendarme comme bases fondamentales et optimales de la vie économique. Pourtant, le XXe siècle met en évidence la permanence des conflits et des guerres. Il est aujourd'hui essentiel, pour comprendre l'économie d'aujourd'hui, d'intégrer dans les réflexions économiques le fonctionnement de systèmes politiques lesquels, sous les déclarations favorables au fonctionnement de l'économie de marché, continuent à exercer des influences qui s'apparentent à des politiques de type mercantiliste. Le développement économique va de pair avec la puissance de l'Etat et vice versa.
    Date: 2022
  3. By: Mughal, Adil Ahmad
    Abstract: Aside from the calculating and always troublesome utilitarian ethic, a moral theory of value can better serve as a desirable form of the veil of ignorance analogy on the part of the arbitration of allocation procedures. Philosopher Soren Kierkegaard suggested a 'moral absolute' that achieves a 'teleological suspension of the ethical'. This suspension or the veil of ignorance can be formulated as a randomization of allocation procedures across agents in a given preference space; such that, a truly self-interested gain is unpriced and therefore a true gift, that is, a gift without an obligation.
    Keywords: Moral value, self-interest, the gift, invariance of domain, social preferences, unpriced preferences
    JEL: B4 C0 C70 C78 C9 D6
    Date: 2022–09
  4. By: Nomaler, Önder (RS: GSBE other - not theme-related research, Mt Economic Research Inst on Innov/Techn); Verspagen, Bart (RS: GSBE MGSoG, RS: GSBE other - not theme-related research, Mt Economic Research Inst on Innov/Techn, RS: UNU-MERIT Theme 1)
    Abstract: In this paper, we provide a brief overview of the field of complexity research in economics, and discuss directions of research that we consider to be promising in terms of solving open issues. We start the survey of the field with the research that emerged in the 1990s, when under the influence of earlier developments in the natural sciences (e.g., thermodynamics and chaos theory), the term complexity became in fashion to refer to theoretical ideas about how "ordered" patterns at an aggregate level can emerge from interaction between heterogenous agents at the microeconomic level. This gave rise to the notion of self-organization in dissipative systems, or "order at the edge of chaos" to describe economic dynamics. Because disequilibrium plays a large role in these theories, these ideas worked very well in combination with a Schumpeterian view of the economy, which also stresses disequilibrium. In the current literature, economic complexity is mainly used to refer to the application of quantitative methods based on networks that can be created on the basis of very fine-grained data on production or trade. These data are used to produce aggregate measures of development, as well as to describe how production structures may evolve over time. This literature developed largely disconnected to the earlier complexity literature. The new economic complexity paradigm is largely void of economic theory, and instead aims to provide a set of data reduction techniques that are used to characterize development. With regard to outlook for complexity research in (Schumpeterian) economics, on the one hand, we feel that the potential for analyzing the economy as a dissipative, out-of-equilibrium system has not been fully exploited yet. In particular, we propose that - in line with the field of "Big History" (which aims to describe and analyze a coarse history of the universe since the Big Bang) - there is work to be done on the larger issues in economics, in particular climate change and sustainability.
    JEL: B52 O30 O31 O33
    Date: 2022–07–07
  5. By: Tobón Arias, Alexander
    Abstract: Resumen: El objetivo de este documento de trabajo es proponer una estructuración lógica de la teoría del equilibrio general dinámico estocástico o teoría DSGE. Para tal fin, se presentan las seis fases que configuran su evolución, buscando responder al paradigma de las fluctuaciones económicas o business cycle. Se muestra que existen dos linajes en dicha evolución: por un lado, aquel que proviene de Brock y Mirman (1972) y, por otro lado, aquel que proviene de Dixit y Stiglitz (1977). Sobre la base de esta distinción, se discute la naturaleza de la teoría del equilibrio general dinámico estocástico en su versión actual llamada “nueva síntesis neoclásica†o “modelo nuevo keynesiano†. Si bien esta versión reivindica una adhesión al pensamiento de Keynes, se aporta evidencia para rechazar tal pretensión. Se concluye que la teoría del equilibrio general dinámico estocástico es esencialmente una metodología empírica, cuyo contenido teórico se reduce a los principios tradicionales de la teoría neoclásica walrasiana. Abstract: The aim of this working paper is to propose a logical structure of the dynamic stochastic general equilibrium theory or DSGE theory. To this end, the six phases of its evolution are presented, aiming to address the paradigm of economic fluctuations or business cycle. It is shown that there are two lineages in this evolution: the one from Brock and Mirman (1972), and that which comes from Dixit and Stiglitz (1977). Based on this distinction, the dynamic stochastic general equilibrium theory is discussed, known in its current version as “new neoclassical synthesis†or “new Keynesian model†. While this version claims an adherence to Keynes’s thought, evidence is provided to reject such a claim. It is concluded that dynamic stochastic general equilibrium theory is essentially an empirical methodology, whose theoretical content is reduced to the traditional principles of the Walrasian neoclassical theory.
    Keywords: Historia de la macroeconomía, nuevos clásicos, nuevos keynesianos, DSGE, nueva síntesis neoclásica
    JEL: B22 E13 E32 E50
    Date: 2022–07–12
  6. By: Nicole El Karoui (LPSM (UMR_8001) - Laboratoire de Probabilités, Statistique et Modélisation - SU - Sorbonne Université - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UPCité - Université Paris Cité); Antoine Parent (LED - Laboratoire d'Economie Dionysien - UP8 - Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis, OFCE - Observatoire français des conjonctures économiques (Sciences Po) - Sciences Po - Sciences Po, CAC-IXXI, Complex Systems Institute); Pierre-Charles Pradier (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: We propose a revisited view of Louis Bachelier's contribution to economic analysis. Conventional wisdom presents Bachelier as the founding father of modern financial theory. We show that Bachelier's work is constructed to respond to a gap in the Walrasian general equilibrium, where the options market is verbosely introduced but not modeled. By providing a price formation theory for the missing options market, Bachelier undoubtedly presents himself as the heir apparent of the mathematical economics tradition founded by Walras. Indeed, Bachelier's methodological stance is clearly formed on the "rational method" of Walras, proceeding by mathematical demonstration from postulates that we make explicit. We show additionally how Walras and Bachelier in pre-WW2 France reached to the same audience. We propose to name this augmented general equilibrium model the Walras-Bachelier model of intertemporal general equilibrium in the presence of risk. This theory prefigures the Arrow-Debreu model, with some differences which we make clear.
    Keywords: General equilibrium,Financial markets,Option pricing,Bachelier,Walras
    Date: 2022–10
  7. By: Villarreal Restrepo, Carlos Andrés
    Abstract: Resumen: El objetivo de este documento de trabajo es realizar una interpretación de la teoría monetaria de Hawtrey (1919). Este autor define la cantidad de dinero como el crédito bancario, cuya circulación entre comerciantes, productores y consumidores provoca cambios no proporcionales en los precios monetarios. Se trataría entonces de una teoría monetaria que defiende la hipótesis de una demanda de dinero endógena. De esta manera, la teoría monetaria de Hawtrey rechaza la neutralidad del dinero, por lo cual se tiene un sustento teórico para explicar el origen de las crisis financieras. Abstract: The aim of this working paper is to present the monetary theory of Hawtrey (1919). This author defines the quantity of money as credit, whose circulation among merchants, producers and consumers causes non-proportional changes in monetary prices. In this way, Hawtrey's monetary theory rejects the neutrality of money, which is why there is theoretical support to explain the origin of financial crises.
    Keywords: Hawtrey, crédito, teoría monetaria, teoría cuantitativa del dinero, neutralidad del dinero
    JEL: B13 E13 E42 E50
    Date: 2021–09–08
  8. By: Adolfo Rodríguez-Herrera (Universidad de Costa Rica); Juliana Mesén-Vargas
    Date: 2022–10
  9. By: Myles, Jamieson
    Abstract: In her seminal work on insider lending, Naomi Lamoreaux describes the shift to impersonal lending in late nineteenth century New England. Although orthodox banking theory prescribed investing in “real bills”, they were in short supply, so reformers focused instead on establishing new objective lending criteria. This article examines the nationwide campaign by financial reformers in the 1910s to do what banking reformers in New England had not: convince businesses across the U.S. to abandon prevailing commercial credit practices and adopt “trade acceptances”—the quintessential real bill—in their stead. To financial reformers, the Federal Reserve System offered an institutional means of reducing distributors’ dependence on mercantile credit and incentivizing banks to invest in real bills. Once underway, campaigners argued that trade acceptances would foster good business practices and stabilize the financial system and relied on trade associations and the federal government to disseminate this message. Some businesses obliged, but many opposed trade acceptances, casting them as contrary to the American culture of credit. The campaign did not eradicate established credit practices or supplant the promissory note and failed to incentivize non-member state banks to become Fed members. Instead, its significance lay in industrial finance companies’ use of trade acceptances as collateral to secure financing for the distribution and mass consumption of consumer durables. <p>
    Keywords: Impersonal lending, Bills of exchange, Money market, Culture of credit, Federal Reserve System.
    JEL: N00 N22 N72
    Date: 2022
  10. By: Jorge-Sotelo, Enrique
    Abstract: This paper contributes to the literature on moral hazard, lending of last resort and the political origins of banking crises. Drawing on newly accessed quantitative and qualitative archival sources the paper documents how a bank - Banco de Cataluña - formed a coalition with the Dictatorship of Primo de Rivera (1923-30) in order to depart from the framework of "constructive ambiguity" that characterized central bank lending of last resort in Spain. As a result, the bank developed a uniquely risky portfolio and incurred in insider lending to internationally exposed firms at the onset of the Great Depression. The fall of the Dictatorship and democratic transition, the collapse of international trade, and global deflation during 1929-31 made fragilities emerge causing the bank to fail.
    Keywords: moral hazard,lender of last resort,Great Depression
    JEL: N24 E58 G01
    Date: 2022
  11. By: Rao,Vijayendra
    Abstract: This paper argues that Economics can learn from Cultural Anthropology and Qualitative Sociologyby drawing on a judicious mix of qualitative and quantitative methods to become more “reflexive.” It arguesthat reflexivity, which helps reduce the distance between researchers and the subjects of their research, has four keyelements: cognitive empathy, the analysis of narratives (potentially enhanced by machine learning), understandingprocess, and participation (involving respondents in research). The paper provides an impressionistic andnon-comprehensive review of mixed-methods relevant to development economics and discrimination to illustrate these points.
    Keywords: Human Rights,Gender and Development,Financial Sector Policy,Social Cohesion,ICT Applications
    Date: 2022–01–28

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