nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2023‒04‒24
twelve papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. Review of “Welfare Theory, Public Action, and Ethical Values: Revisiting the History of Welfare Economics” edited by Roger E. Backhouse, Antoinette Baujard and Tamatsu Nishizawa By Igersheim, Herrade
  2. Economics and pluralism By Víctor A. Beker
  3. Adam Smith, Value and the Taste of Beauty By Jimena Hurtado
  4. Anatomizing the invisible: moral philosophy and economics in Mandeville’s thought By Thiago Vargas
  5. The Uneventful Reception of Mandeville’s Ideas in the Eighteenth-Century Dutch Republic, or the Mysterious Case of the Missing Outrage By Hengstmengel, Joost; Verburg, Rudi
  6. Bernard Mandeville: Wealth beyond Vice and Virtue By Jimena Hurtado
  7. Review of “Credit and Crisis from Marx to Minsky” by Jan Toporowski By Rogissart, Brecht
  8. Believing, belonging and understanding : religion and philosophy as narratives and practice in Adam Smith By Jimena Hurtado
  9. Understanding the paradox of control and freedom of consumption under digital capitalism with Stafford Beer's cybernetic theory By Hannah Bensussan
  10. "The charm of emission trading": Ideas of German public economists on economic policy in times of crises By Reinke, Rouven; Porak, Laura
  11. Academic Ambitions: The First Fifteen Women Who Earned Ph.D.s from the University of California By Merritt, Karen Ph.D.
  12. Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Le sceptique penseur de l’incertitude By Hugo Gaillard; Soufyane Frimousse; François Cazals

  1. By: Igersheim, Herrade
    Abstract: Review of “Welfare Theory, Public Action, and Ethical Values: Revisiting the History of Welfare Economics” edited by Roger E. Backhouse, Antoinette Baujard and Tamatsu Nishizawa.
    Date: 2023–03–23
  2. By: Víctor A. Beker
    Keywords: pluralism, scientific method, mainstream economics, paradigm
    JEL: B41 A11
    Date: 2021–11
  3. By: Jimena Hurtado
    Abstract: The founding question in economics of how the market works, and thus, the question of value and prices, was part of a larger question on social coordination during the Enlightenment. This broader context implies an exploration of human nature and, in the case of Adam Smith, of the principles of the human mind. The interpretation of Smith's theory of value has received much attention over the years, with some claiming it as a labor theory or a cost of production theory. I propose an alternative interpretation of Smith's theory of value as an expression of social interactions, specifically through the taste of beauty, or aesthetic need.
    Keywords: Adam Smith, value, taste, aesthetics.
    JEL: A12 A13 B11 B13
    Date: 2023–03–22
  4. By: Thiago Vargas (PHARE - Philosophie, Histoire et Analyse des Représentations Économiques - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)
    Abstract: Taking as its starting point the reception of the Fable of the Bees by the philosophers of the second half of the eighteenth century, this article seeks to examine which parts of Mandeville's system "bordered upon the truth" (Smith) and were therefore useful in contributing to the formation of the political economy of commercial societies. To this end, the article is divided into three parts that address crucial aspects of the Fable's moral philosophy: the quarrel over the refinement of the arts and its link with labour, trade, and inequality; the passions and the political foundation of society; and the manner in which interests are organised.
    Keywords: Mandeville, Adam Smith, Political economy, Moral philosophy, Commercial society, Political philosophy
    Date: 2021–07–30
  5. By: Hengstmengel, Joost; Verburg, Rudi
    Abstract: The heated debates that Mandeville’s work inspired in Britain, France and Germany are well?documented. No such account is available for the public reception of his ideas in his country of birth, the Dutch Republic. This paper seeks to fill that void. Remarkable enough, his ideas did not cause much of a stir. Consequently, the paper proceeds to explain the divergent pattern of response from the Dutch. It is argued that his ideas were either reverting back to disputes that had already been settled or were out of touch with the general climate of opinion in the Netherlands.
    Date: 2023–03–23
  6. By: Jimena Hurtado
    Abstract: Bernard Mandeville denounced the moral philosophy of his times, its theoretical and practical dimensions, as elitist and contrary to human nature. The explanations and recommendations derived from this moral philosophy, according to Mandeville, were inadequate to understand and govern commercial society. Mandeville scrutinized existing theories about human nature, confronted them with what he presented as facts and unraveled their contradictions. This leads to Mandeville's challenge: accepting things as they are or assuming the responsibility of transformation. This is the challenge I explore in this paper. We can continue to live in a highly unequal society based on pride and shame or we can create incentives that will lead to a different calculation of passions in line with a Utilitarian criterion.
    Keywords: Bernard Mandeville, moral philosophy, Utilitarianism.
    JEL: A13 B11 B31
    Date: 2023–03–22
  7. By: Rogissart, Brecht
    Abstract: Review of “Credit and Crisis from Marx to Minsky” by Jan Toporowski.
    Date: 2023–03–23
  8. By: Jimena Hurtado
    Abstract: Adam Smith included understanding and belonging among basic human needs. Humans have spiritual and material needs that they can satisfy through coordination and cooperation, both need communication. Religion and philosophy emerge when people communicate the explanations they have of their surroundings and their interactions. They represent shared beliefs and inform behavior that allow people to understand and belong. Religion and philosophy, provide tranquility of mind and satisfy the desire to be loved and loveable.
    Keywords: Adam Smith, Religion, Philosophy, Beliefs, Communities.
    JEL: A13 B12 B31
    Date: 2023–03–22
  9. By: Hannah Bensussan (CEPN - Centre d'Economie de l'Université Paris Nord - LABEX ICCA - UP13 - Université Paris 13 - Université Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris 3 - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UPCité - Université Paris Cité - Université Sorbonne Paris Nord - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Université Sorbonne Paris Nord)
    Abstract: Studies on the digitalization of markets and economic relations provide contrasting statements on its impact on consumers: it seems to have enhanced both control and freedom of these actors. This paper proposes to understand this paradox through the lens of Stafford Beer's cybernetic theory. We read the literature on digitalization and consumption at the light of Beer's concepts of regulated variety, regulatory variety and recursion, three concepts at the source of Beer's understanding of control and freedom. These concepts, we argue, allow to show the conditioned rise of consumers' freedom to the purpose of control in capitalist orders, i.e., commodity circulation and capital accumulation.
    Keywords: Control, freedom, consumption, digital capitalism
    Date: 2023–03–29
  10. By: Reinke, Rouven; Porak, Laura
    Abstract: Economists have become very influential intellectuals in our contemporary society. The scientific knowledge produced by the discipline and the academic status of economists can be considered as a decisive power resource in media debates and politics. The current state of economics has been criticized in the past one and a half decades regarding the ontological and epistemic foundations of the discipline and its policy implications. However, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic, it seems as if publicly presented positions have drastically changed. Instead of advocating pure market liberalism, the state is attributed an important position and market failures are discussed intensively. Given these shifts, this paper analyzes the positions that important German economists present after the unfolding of the Covid-19 pandemic about 'the economy' and economic policy. Methodologically, the paper draws on critical discourse analysis (CDA) of recent interviews on the YouTube channel 'Jung & Naiv' with leading public economists in Germany. By doing so, this study elaborates on the different dimension of economic knowledge that is articulated by public representatives of economics. On the ontological and theoretical level, we find a rather monistic understanding of 'the economy', involving the interplay between markets and the state. Public economists repeatedly emphasize the superiority of market economies and their price mechanism. With regards to economic policy, a shift from rather free-market approaches towards moderate Keynesianism and market design liberalism becomes apparent, indicating a flexible pragmatism.
    Date: 2023
  11. By: Merritt, Karen Ph.D.
    Abstract: Describes the paths to the Ph.D. and the subsequent careers of the first 15 women to earn Ph.D.s from the University of California. It covers: Milicent Washburn Shinn (1898), Jessica Blanche Peixotto (1900), Alice Robertson (1902), Edna Earl Watson Bailey (1910), Annie Dale Biddle Andrews (1911), Myrtle Elizabeth Johnson (1912), Lillian Ruth Matthews (1912), Emma Phoebe Waterman Haas (1913), Anna Estelle Glancy (1913), Frances Lytle Gillepsy (1914), Rosalind Wulzen (1914), Olga Louise Bridgman (1915), Helen Margaret Gillkey (1915), Olive Swezy (1915), Irene Agnes McCulloch (1916).
    Keywords: Arts and Humanities, early women doctorates, university of california
    Date: 2023–04–05
  12. By: Hugo Gaillard (ARGUMans - Laboratoire de recherche en gestion Le Mans Université - UM - Le Mans Université); Soufyane Frimousse; François Cazals
    Date: 2022

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