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On Closed Systems and the Language of Economic Discourse

Roy Rotheim ()

Review of Social Economy, 1998, vol. 56, issue 3, 324-334

Abstract: This article addresses a few of the major points identified by Tony Lawson in his book Reality and Economics(Routledge 1997). Traditional economic models are profoundly closed, emanating from reasoning processes that are both deductivist and positivist by nature. Here, individuals are prescribed to behave according to mechanical, socially abstracted fashions that, in fact, belie any semblance of real human choice. Moreover, as Lawson observes, relationality in these models is strictly external, in that the natures of individuals are not affected by their participation in market activity. Under these conditions, models can be easily constructed by which markets yield unique equilibrium outcomes, whereby the constancy of the conjunctions of events yield law-like economic assertions. Instead, Lawson embraces a critical realist perspective that posits human behavior to be both structured and internallyrelational, i.e., where interactions with others can affect the very natures of those individuals. As such, human relations can be temporally situated in the context of structured social contracts, while still embodying the organic elements from which those agents and structures can be reproduced and transformed. From these principles, this essay explores some recent work in Keynesian and Post Keynesian thought. In addition, this critical realist framework considers some developments in New Keynesian Economics and Endogenous Growth Theory.

Keywords: critical realism; Post and New Keynesian economics; endogenous; growth theory (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 1998
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DOI: 10.1080/00346769800000032

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