A Sociological Critique of the Economic Theory of Politics
Author: Lars Udehn
Category: Business & Economics
Public choice has been one of the most important developments in the social sciences in the last twenty years. However there are many people who are frustrated by the uncritical importing of ideas from economics into political science. Public Choice uses both empirical evidence and theoretical analysis to argue that the economic theory of politics is limited in scope and fertility. In order to arrive at a more comprehensive understanding of political life, political scientists must learn from both economists and sociologists.
What has gone wrong with economics? Economists now routinely devise highly sophisticated abstract models that score top marks for theoretical rigour but are clearly divorced from observable activities in the current economy. This creates an 'uneconomic economics', where models explain relationships in blackboard rather than real-life markets.
The Shifting Boundaries Between Economics and Other Social Sciences
Author: Ben Fine
Category: Business & Economics
Is or has economics ever been the imperial social science? Could or should it ever be so? These are the central concerns of this book. It involves a critical reflection on the process of how economics became the way it is, in terms of a narrow and intolerant orthodoxy, that has, nonetheless, increasingly directed its attention to appropriating the subject matter of other social sciences through the process termed "economics imperialism". In other words, the book addresses the shifting boundaries between economics and the other social sciences as seen from the confines of the dismal science, with some reflection on the responses to the economic imperialists by other disciplines. Significantly, an old economics imperialism is identified of the "as if market" style most closely associated with Gary Becker, the public choice theory of Buchanan and Tullock and cliometrics. But this has given way to a more "revolutionary" form of economics imperialism associated with the information-theoretic economics of Akerlof and Stiglitz, and the new institutional economics of Coase, Wiliamson and North. Embracing one "new" field after another, economics imperialism reaches its most extreme version in the form of "freakonomics", the economic theory of everything on the basis of the most shallow principles. By way of contrast and as a guiding critical thread, a thorough review is offered of the appropriate principles underpinning political economy and its relationship to social science, and how these have been and continue to be deployed. The case is made for political economy with an interdisciplinary character, able to bridge the gap between economics and other social sciences, and draw upon and interrogate the nature of contemporary capitalism.
Throughout the world, politicians from all the main parties are cutting back on state welfare provision, encouraging people to use the private sector instead and developing increasingly stringent techniques for the surveillance of the poor. Almost all experts agree that we are likely to see further constraints on state welfare in the 21st Century. Gathering together the findings from up-to-date attitude surveys in Europe East and West, the US and Australasia, this revealing book shows that, contrary to the claims of many experts and policy-makers, the welfare state is still highly popular with the citizens of most countries. This evidence will add to controversy in an area of fundamental importance to public policy and to current social science debate.
"The Limits of Liberty is concerned mainly with two topics. One is an attempt to construct a new contractarian theory of the state, and the other deals with its legitimate limits. The latter is a matter of great practical importance and is of no small significance from the standpoint of political philosophy."—Scott Gordon, Journal of Political Economy James Buchanan offers a strikingly innovative approach to a pervasive problem of social philosophy. The problem is one of the classic paradoxes concerning man's freedom in society: in order to protect individual freedom, the state must restrict each person's right to act. Employing the techniques of modern economic analysis, Professor Buchanan reveals the conceptual basis of an individual's social rights by examining the evolution and development of these rights out of presocial conditions.
R. H. Coase Duncan Black was a close and dear friend. A man of great simplicity, un worldly, modest, diffident, with no pretensions, he was devoted to scholarship. In his single-minded search for the truth, he is an example to us all. Black's first degree at the University of Glasgow was in mathematics and physics. Mathematics as taught at Glasgow seems to have been designed for engineers and did not excite him and he switched to economics, which he found more congenial. But it was not in a lecture in economics but in one on politics that he found his star. One lecturer, A. K. White, discussed the possibility of constructing a pure science of politics. This question caught his imagination, perhaps because of his earlier training in physics, and it came to absorb his thoughts for the rest of his life. But almost certainly nothing would have come of it were it not for his appointment to the newly formed Dundee School of Economics where the rest of the. teaching staff came from the London School of Economics. At Glasgow, economics, as in the time of Adam Smith, was linked with moral philosophy. At Dundee, Black was introduced to the analytical x The Theory o/Committees and Elections approach dominant at the London School of Economics. This gave him the approach he used in his attempt to construct a pure science of politics.
`This volume combines remarkable coverage and distinguished contributors. The inclusion of thematic, conceptual, and historical chapters will make it a valuable resource for scholars as well as students' - Professor George Klosko, Department of Politics, University of Virginia This major new Handbook provides a definitive state-of-the-art review to political theory, past and present. It offers a complete guide to all the main areas and fields of political and philosophical inquiry today by the world's leading theorists. The Handbook is divided into five parts which together serve to illustrate: - the diversity of political theorizing - the substantive theories that provide an over-aching analysis of the nature/or justification of the state and political life - the political theories that have been either formulated or resurgent in recent years - the current state of the central debates within contemporary political theory - the history of western political thought and its interpretations - traditions in political thought outside a western perspective. The Handbook of Political Theory marks a benchmark publication at the cutting edge of its field. It is essential reading for all students and academics of political theory and political philosophy around the world.
This book points out that because many natural and cultural features are public goods, with limited markets and hazy property rights, public policies are needed to strike the delicate balance between supply and demand.
Law and the State provides a political economy analysis of the legal functioning of a democratic state, illustrating how it builds on informational and legal constraints. It explains, in an organised and thematic fashion, how competitive information enhances democracy while strategic information endangers it, and discusses how legal constraints stress the dilemma of independence versus discretion for judges as well as the elusive role of administrators and experts. Throughout the book, empirical evidence and comparative studies illuminate sometimes provocative theoretical views on issues such as: the place of the rule of law in constitutional and banking systems; regulation of copyright, art and heritage; innovations and technologies of communication and information; terrorism and media manipulation. Both private and public law, applied and theoretical issues are covered comprehensively. Academics and researchers of law and economics and public choice will find much to challenge and inform them within this book.