Social Ontology and Modern Economics
Edited by Stephen Pratten
Routledge – 2014 – 256 pages
Series: Economics as Social Theory
In recent years a group of heterodox economists largely based or trained at Cambridge University have argued that explicit ontological analysis and elaboration can provide a key to the fruitful transformation of economics.
The group have shown s that through sustained ontological analysis, answers can be developed to the urgent questions raised in frustration and disappointment by many commentators on the economics discipline including:
Why does modern academic economics fair so badly as an explanatory endeavour?
Why do practitioners of economics find it so difficult to act according to the specific methodological criteria they accept?
What explains the current dissent within economics expressed by student groups in many different countries?
What distinguishes those dissenting groups of economists that portray themselves as heterodox (for example Feminists, Post Keynesians and Institutionalists) from their mainstream colleagues?
What differentiates the various heterodox traditions from one another?
What explains the current formalistic emphasis of the economics discipline?
Those promoting the ontological turn have not only developed powerful explanations to these questions but also made progress in interrogating and elaborating core social and economic categories such as institutions, technology, gender and money as well as shedding light on events such as the 2008 financial crisis. This school of thought has developed over a period of more than twenty years and this collection of the major contributions provides a timely opportunity to take stock of the advances made thus far.
Introduction Part One: The Case for Ontology in Economics Part Two: The Critique of Mainstream Economics Part Three: The Unity and Distinctions within Heterodox Economics Part Four: Interventions in the History of Economic Thought Part Five: Developments in Economic Methodology Part Six: Scientific Ontology Part Seven: Reconceptualising Policy
Stephen Pratten is Senior Lecturer in Economics at King’s College London.