nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2023‒10‒23
seven papers chosen by
Erik Thomson, University of Manitoba

  1. THE CONCEPT OF FREEDOM IN LIBERAL AND CONSERVATIVE POLITICAL THOUGHT AT THE TURN OF THE 19TH AND 20TH CENTURIES By Budraitskis, Ilya (Будрайтскис, Илья); Vanunts, Georgy (Ванунц, Георгий); Yegorova, A. (Егорова, А.); Zapolskaya, A. (Запольская, А.); Yudin, Grigory (Юдин, Григорий)
  2. Structural Transformation and Value Change: The British Abolitionist Movement By Valentín Figueroa; Vasiliki Fouka
  3. Economics and Nature: A Long-Neglected Combination By Anna Pettini
  4. Repoliticising the Future of Work: Automation and the End of Techno-Optimism By Solange Vivienne Manche; Juan Sebastian Carbonell
  5. The Problem of Domestic Work at the International Labour Organization By Chee, Liberty
  6. Moral Boundaries By Benjamin Enke
  7. What is the social and solidarity economy? A review of concepts By OECD

  1. By: Budraitskis, Ilya (Будрайтскис, Илья) (The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration); Vanunts, Georgy (Ванунц, Георгий) (The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration); Yegorova, A. (Егорова, А.) (The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration); Zapolskaya, A. (Запольская, А.) (The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration); Yudin, Grigory (Юдин, Григорий) (The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration)
    Abstract: The subject of our research is the evolution of the concept of "freedom" in liberal political thought at the end of the 19th century – first half of the 20th century, as well as its influence on further academic discussions of "freedom" as a concept. Our main sources, therefore, are the texts by liberal, conservative as well as left-wing theorists of the period in question (Isaiah Berlin, Carl Schmitt, Edmund Burke, Max Weber, Joseph Schumpeter, Walter Benjamin) and their interconnections with the subsequent development of the liberal tradition (Jurgen Habermas, Hannah Arendt) as well as its critics (Giorgio Agamben, Judith Butler). The aim of the project was to confirm our basic hypothesis that the key transformation of the concept of "freedom" in political and social thought takes place at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries – this was the moment when liberal doctrines took shape, in which collective freedom gave way to individual freedom. Thus, our project had three objectives: 1) to trace the transformation of the notion of freedom in the liberal tradition of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, 2) to identify lines of criticism of individual freedom in conservative and leftist thought of the early twentieth century, 3) to analyze the current crisis of liberalism related to the non-democratic basis of actual political representation and to show how the notion of freedom formed in early twentieth century liberal theory has affected the institutions of modern liberal democracy. The relevance of the research is determined by the deepening crisis of liberalism in our days and the pursuit of programmatic alternatives to liberal democratic institutions. Through an analysis based primarily on the "history of concepts" method, we have described the contradictions in liberal thought associated with the form of the democratic process and its elitist content. The scientific novelty of this study lies in the fact that, for the first time in domestic political theory, an attempt was made to examine the key category of "freedom" in the liberal tradition in a broad historical and theoretical context, which made it possible to identify its contemporary understanding. We conclude that this anti-democratic and anti-egalitarian element of the liberal tradition has common origins with the conservative critique of democracy of the early to mid-20th century. Since the Russian Federation's policy documents (in particular, the National Security Strategy) pay considerable attention to rethinking the relationship between individual freedoms and securing the collective freedom of the Russian people in the face of external challenges, the practical recommendation of the study is to further develop an original historical and theoretical concept of freedom that meets the contemporary conditions of our country.
    Keywords: democracy, conservatism, politics, freedom, republicanism, liberalism, neoliberalism, political theology, political subject, political sphere
    JEL: B10 B30
    Date: 2021–11–12
  2. By: Valentín Figueroa; Vasiliki Fouka
    Abstract: What drives change in a society’s values? From Marx to modernization theory, scholars have identified a connection between structural transformation and social change. To understand how changes in a society’s dominant mode of production affect its dominant values, we examine the case of the movement for the abolition of slavery in the late 18th and early 19th century Britain, one of history’s most well-known campaigns for social change, which coincided temporally with the Industrial Revolution. We argue that structural transformation alters the distribution of power in society and enables groups with distinct values and weak economic interest in the status quo to mobilize for change. Using data on anti-slavery petitions, membership in abolitionist groups, MP voting behavior in Parliament and economic activity, we show that support for abolition was strongly connected to manufacturing at the aggregate and individual level. We rely on biographical data and the analysis of parliamentary speeches to show that industrialists were relatively less reliant on income from slavery and were characterized by a universalist worldview that distinguished them from established elites. Together, our findings suggest that both values and economic interest play a role in driving social change.
    Keywords: values, structural transformation, social change, slavery, abolition
    JEL: A13 N63 O14 P16 Z10
    Date: 2023
  3. By: Anna Pettini
    Abstract: The intersection of Economics and Nature has long been overlooked, but recent events have shed new light on their interconnectedness. This paper explores this relationship, focusing on the impact of economic cycles and the role of GDP as a measure of economic success. The paper highlights the historically dominant role of GDP, tracing its origins from Simon Kuznets’ report in the 1930s to the present. It considers the rise of quantitative growth as a paradigm and its influence on economic policy, including the neo-liberal perspective that prioritises private market initiative. The paper concludes by exploring the potential for change in the aftermath of the syndemic crisis, and argues for a move away from GDP-centred measurements towards indicators that are fully researched and ready to use.
    Keywords: critical deceleration theory, nature, GDP, beyond-GDP indicators
    JEL: I31 O10 D00
    Date: 2023
  4. By: Solange Vivienne Manche (CAM - University of Cambridge [UK]); Juan Sebastian Carbonell (IDHES - Institutions et Dynamiques Historiques de l'Économie et de la Société - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - UP8 - Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis - UPN - Université Paris Nanterre - UEVE - Université d'Évry-Val-d'Essonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - ENS Paris Saclay - Ecole Normale Supérieure Paris-Saclay)
    Abstract: This review article of Aaron Benanav's Automation and the Future of Work (2020) and Jason Smith's Smart Machines and Service Work (2020) reads both works as an effort to repoliticise the question of unemployment, which has too often been ascribed to technological innovation, especially by proponents of automation theory. It places their works within current debates surrounding the question of automation and its political reverberations across the political spectrum. In the end, we show that the shortcomings of automation discourse reside in their economic analyses of the future of work and employment and that automation theorists encourage a depoliticisation of the question of employment through technocracy, while Benanav and Smith open the way for thinking about the future of work as a collective and social endeavour.
    Keywords: Automation, future of work, precarity, sociologie, stagnation, technological unemployment
    Date: 2022
  5. By: Chee, Liberty (Ca' Foscari University of Venice)
    Abstract: This paper examines the processes of attempting to set standards for one of the largest labour sectors in the world that employs women. It demonstrates how the International Labour Organization is a boundary organisation that co-produces hybrid knowledge about domestic work through the iterative engagement of experts, practitioners and laypersons. The paper offers problematisation as an approach with which to understand this process of knowledge production. I deploy problematisation in two senses - as a mode of analysis (an activity, method) and an object of inquiry (a problem). To problematise is to make something recognisable, thinkable and actionable. Problematisation is the constitution of an object of thought (here “domestic work”) through discourse (logos), techniques (techne) and action (praxis). Concretely, this means examining the truth claims made about what domestic work, the tools or instruments used to fortify these claims and calls for action. In its second sense, the problematisation of domestic work shows its evolution from a non-problem, to a problem of the law, and then of the economy.
    Date: 2023–09–28
  6. By: Benjamin Enke
    Abstract: This article reviews the growing economics literature that studies the politico-economic impacts of heterogeneity in moral boundaries across individuals and cultures. The so-called universalism-versus-particularism cleavage has emerged as a main organizing principle behind various salient features of contemporary political competition, including individual-level and spatial variation in voting, the realignment of rich liberals and poor conservatives, the internal structure of ideology, and the moral content of political messaging. A recurring theme is that the explanatory power of universalism for left-wing policy views and voting is considerably larger than that of traditional economic variables. Looking at the origins of heterogeneity in universalism, an emerging consensus is that cross-group variation is partly economically functional and reflects that morality evolved to support cooperation in economic production. This insight organizes much work on how kinship systems, market exposure, political institutions and ecology have shaped universalism through their impacts on the relative benefits of localized and impersonal interactions.
    JEL: D01 D03 D70
    Date: 2023–09
  7. By: OECD
    Abstract: Produced as part of the OECD Global Action on Promoting Social and Solidarity Economy Ecosystems, funded by the European Union’s Foreign Partnership Instrument, this paper provides a framework to clarify the core notions of the social and solidarity economy, along with social economy, social enterprise, social innovation and other related notions. The objective is to explain what they are and understand how these notions have evolved in recent decades. It also aims to capture and document the great diversity within social and solidarity economy organisations in terms of purposes, legal entities, business models and practices to help better characterise the “population” of social and solidarity economy entities.
    Keywords: conceptual framework, cooperative, local development, non profit, social and solidarity economy, social economy, social enterprise, social entrepreneurship, social innovation
    JEL: L33 L31
    Date: 2023–09–28

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