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What Should Economics Be?

What Should Economics Be?

The economic phenomenon (like any social one) doesn’t come, doesn’t vanish, and doesn’t happen: it is actually produced by the praxiological action (one of the three human actions, beside the theoretical, and practical, respectively) of the human being, in his/her social hypostasis. In the most proper sense, that which pertains to the economy is a social product, and the economic reality is a social construction, i.e. a social reality. Like the physical space, which increases as its content increases, the economic space expands as the economic action increases. The tank metaphor seems very appropriate here: the tank doesn’t need the road – it creates any road whenever and wherever it goes.

So, the first and crucial grounding axiom for any approach in the matter of the economic phenomenon should be its social nature. As a result, economics must completely and definitively give up its positivist character and adopt a political one (in the Greek sense of the word political), maybe even a metaphysical one. Another necessary consequence is that the goal (final cause) must be introduced into the economic behaviour (decision and praxiological action), so the couplet of (efficient cause - effect) moves towards a model of the (order effect (i.e., goal) - efficient cause).

The second grounding axiom should be the bootstrap principle: any economic phenomenon is as it is since all other economic phenomena are as they are. This principle of self-consistency and self-coherence seems to have been best understood by the economists and philosophers, but with a regrettable omission, suggested by the natural sciences: the human subjects were extracted from the economic process (although the human object remained inside), so the economics became (and continues to be) a naturalist theory, simply a mechanics. For example, the homo œconomicus model is the necessary result of such a strict separation between the subject and the object in the economic process. One of the most relevant logical consequences of the second grounding axiom is the replacement of the systems (specific to the natural world) with the networks (sets without any privileged role for their components). Another consequence is the evolutionary character of the economic behaviour (therefore, of the economic phenomena), that was already understood and, to a significant degree, integrated in the economic explanation in last years.

And, the third grounding axiom should be the fifth excluded (equivalent with the fourth included). This means the economic world is based on a tetravalent logic, where the truth values are not of the correspondence-truth type anymore, but of the teleological-truth type. Indeed, since the economic phenomenon is not of a theoretical nature, the degrees of achievement of the goals constitute the real benchmark of evaluating it, rather than the true/false benchmarks. The replacing of the correspondence-truth by the teleological-truth is strongly suggested by the non-repeatable character of the economic phenomena or processes, which is a necessary consequence of the internal placement of the subject relative to the given economic phenomena or processes.

Based on the three invoked grounding axioms, a non-positivist economic theory (whose name I don’t see why it could not be political economics, as opposed to political economy) can be built through three interrelated perspectives: logical, epistemological, and axiological. Moreover, I would say: such a political economics must urgently be edified, by constructing new invariants (which are the ground of the scientificity) in the economic process, this time at the level of the pack subject - object.

So, I warmly encourage this publication and its ambitious editors to trigger and fuel an extensive and responsible debate on today’s economic science and that of the future. Humbly, I will try, myself, to place a brick or a keystone on such a grandiose construction focused on the reestablishment of the political economics as a moral philosophy.



The Romanian-American Foundation for the Promotion of Education and Culture (RAFPEC)
Amfiteatru Economic

OEconomica No. 1, 2016