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Economics for Substantive Democracy

Manuel Branco

CEFAGE-UE Working Papers from University of Evora, CEFAGE-UE (Portugal)

Abstract: What is the scope of economics as a science, what is economics for? Real freedom or what we call substantive democracy has never been an objective of economics. In this perspective freedom, or the lack of it, would not be a purpose of a particular economic system, but at best one of its side effects. In this paper I sustain that economics’ discourse has become one the most substantial contributors to what could be called the erosion of democracy. The first argument used in this case against economics refers to its attempt to be considered a neo-naturalistic science; the second concerns the fact that economics considers democracy contradictory to the expression of its scientific rationality and; the third, that economics crowds out people from decision-making processes by pushing them into the hands of experts. What part should economics be called to play in this search for substantive democracy? This issue is all the more critical that economics has reached the status of a major political fact. Partisan political programs have essentially become economic programs, and economic variables have thereby become major global political issues. One of the ways for economics to contribute to substantive democracy is to propose an alternative discourse to mainstream economics. An economics favorable to substantive democracy should, thereby, be political rather than naturalistic, pluralist rather than monist and, instead of crowding out people from decisions processes, should aim at the co-production of economic knowledge with those concerned by the outcome of economic decisions.

Keywords: Economic Theory; Political Economy; Democracy; Decision-Making. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A13 B40 K00 P16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 19 pages
Date: 2014
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-hme, nep-hpe, nep-law, nep-pke and nep-pol
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Journal Article: Economics for substantive democracy (2016) Downloads
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