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Interrogating Sickonomics, from Diagnosis to Cure: A Response to Hodgson

Dimitris Milonakis () and Ben Fine

Review of Social Economy, 2012, vol. 70, issue 4, 477-491

Abstract: Hodgson's review of our books argues against us that marginalism neither adopted methodological individualism nor excluded the social from economics. Thus, he finds a partial solution to sickonomics in abandoning the term methodological individualism and using both structures and individuals as analytical starting point(s), revisiting Marshallian marginalism dressed up in socio-institutional clothing. He also denies any relationship between the current malaise in economics and the marginal revolution, as we claim, focusing exclusively on institutional developments since the Second World War. We show Hodgson is either partial or wrong on all of these counts. Firstly, his alternative to methodological individualism is untenable. Secondly, institutions, although implicitly present in Marshallian and Walrasian economics, play no substantive analytical role and as such are superfluous. Finally, although institutional factors help explain the sickness of modern economics (in addition to socioeconomic, ideological, political, and intellectual factors), the intellectual roots of this decay lie in the conceptual framework established around the marginal revolution.

Date: 2012
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DOI: 10.1080/00346764.2012.662788

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