Surveying Recent Literature on Economic Theory and Morality

Journal of Markets and Morality, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 179-200 (2012).

22 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 2014

See all articles by Matthew McCaffrey

Matthew McCaffrey

University of Manchester - Manchester Business School

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

Recently, economics, both as a science and as a profession, has fallen under scrutiny by authors from various fields. A common theme in the critical literature is the idea that economics has morally lost its way and must be reformed. Each of the books discussed in this review studies perceived problems with economics: in economic theory, policy, and in the economics profession itself. I survey the merits and failings of this literature.In short, the books by Joseph Pearce and John D. Mueller are severely lacking in content that is both original and sound. Some of their criticisms of mainstream economics strike home, but such passages are sadly the exception rather than the rule. It is more often the case that confusion, misreading, insufficient evidence, and faulty reasoning cripple their analyses. Robert H. Nelson’s book, on the other hand, provides a well-researched, fascinating study of the evolution of two leading secular religions, economics and environmentalism.

Keywords: economics and ethics, value freedom, value, exchange, economic growth, resource economics

JEL Classification: B00, B11, B25, Z12

Suggested Citation

McCaffrey, Matthew, Surveying Recent Literature on Economic Theory and Morality (2012). Journal of Markets and Morality, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 179-200 (2012).. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2496142

Matthew McCaffrey (Contact Author)

University of Manchester - Manchester Business School ( email )

United Kingdom

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