nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2022‒11‒14
six papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. ''Non-Competing Social Groups''? The Long Debate on Social Mobility in Italy (c. 1890-1960) By Giacomo Gabbuti
  2. The New Speak and Economic Theory or How We Are Being Talked To By Jean-Paul Fitoussi
  3. A Survey of German Economics By Rommel, Florian; Urban, Janina
  4. A Critical Note on Ricardo's Views on Absolute and Relative Value in terms of Labor Values. By Miguel D. Ramirez
  5. Not part of the plan? Women, state feminism and Indian socialism in the Nehru years By Sherman, Taylor C.
  6. Measuring freedom: towards a solution to John Rawls’ indexing problem By Ferretti, Thomas

  1. By: Giacomo Gabbuti
    Abstract: In the light of the recent literature on the intellectual history of inequality, this paper offers the first survey and a tentative classification of the Italian literature addressing issues related to social mobility, from late-19th century to the 'Economic Miracle' of the 1950s. During these decades, the foremost Italian economists and statisticians (among others, Pareto, Gini, Einaudi and Pantaleoni) worked on issues, from the role of inheritance to the intergenerational transmission of status, which are very related to the modern understanding of social mobility. While reflecting the evolution and debates in Italian society, these authors participated to a broader international debate, that should lead us to reconsider the lack of interest for inequality by economists in this period.
    Keywords: Social mobility; equality of opportunity; inheritance; Italian economic thought.
    Date: 2022–10–17
  2. By: Jean-Paul Fitoussi (ECON - Département d'économie (Sciences Po) - Sciences Po - Sciences Po - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, LUISS - Libera Università Internazionale degli Studi Sociali Guido Carli [Roma])
    Abstract: This article seeks to show how the impoverishment of language has changed the course of the evolution of economic theory, much as in 1984 the Newspeak changed the order of things and the course of the political regime. At the origin of such an evolution was the stratagem to act as if neoclassical theory was subsequent to Keynesian theory. The inversion of the time arrow had far reaching consequences on the development of economics. In great part the development of a science depends of the scholars who practice it and of its teaching to the new researchers who will further develop it. Both depend on the history of thought. The consequences on economic policies have been major, especially in Europe. By cancelling most of the Keynesian concepts from the Newspeak dictionary, the relative weights of the market and the state were changed, which could only lead to a preference for liberal, market- oriented, policies.
    Date: 2022
  3. By: Rommel, Florian; Urban, Janina
    JEL: A11 A14 A22 A23 B41 A22 I23 J44
    Date: 2022
  4. By: Miguel D. Ramirez (Department of Economics, Trinity College)
    Keywords: Absolute value;competitive capitalist economy;invariable measure of value;labor theory of value;national product;natural prices;relative value.
    JEL: B10 B12 B24
    Date: 2022–10
  5. By: Sherman, Taylor C.
    Abstract: The 1950s are often derided in the scholarship as a period of welfarist policies which reinforced women’s role in the family and entrenched women’s economic dependence. This paper examines the Central Social Welfare Board, and in particular its Welfare Extension Projects, to provide a new characterisation of the approach to women’s issues during the period. It argues that the Central Social Welfare Board, with its unique administrative structure, its preference for voluntary activity, and its adherence to persuasion as a mode of action reflected many of the characteristics of Indian socialism of the time. It also sketches, from this angle, a partial picture of state feminism in India. In the Central Social Welfare Board, state feminism was concerned with the gradual transformation of women and a radical, if short-lived, makeover of the state.
    Keywords: state feminism; socialism; self-help; welfare-state; everyday state; community development; decentralisation; postcolonial nationalism; Durgabai Deshmukh
    JEL: B14 B24 P2 P3
    Date: 2021
  6. By: Ferretti, Thomas
    Abstract: Suppose a principle of distributive justice states that social institutions should maximize the freedom of the least well-off. Understanding how to do so would be easier if freedom only depended on one good, like income. If it depends instead on a composite index of social primary goods, a question arises: Which combination of social primary goods can maximize the freedom of the least well-off? This is John Rawls’ indexing problem. Solving it requires addressing two related problems. The first consists in evaluating, in theory, under which conditions it is acceptable to substitute goods, that is, their substitution rates. The second consists in evaluating which acceptable substitutions are feasible in practice. This article proposes a framework to think clearly about this indexing problem within a Rawlsian, resourcist conception of distributive justice. I conclude by discussing a path towards solving the indexing problem. While further empirical exploration is needed, plausible assumptions about social regimes suggest that maximizing the freedom of the least well-off is likely to require giving them access to a social position with a balanced combination of social primary goods.
    Keywords: freedom; indexing problem; John Rawls; social primary goods; substitution
    JEL: A13 D30 D63 I32 J81 P51
    Date: 2022–08–05

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