How Can We Avoid Closed-Ended and Single Exit Theories in Economics and Political Economy: Reflections on Richard Wagner's Mind, Society and Human Action

Studies in Emergent Order, Vol. 4 (2011): 149-155

7 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2014  

Peter J. Boettke

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Date Written: September 17, 2011

Abstract

Richard Wagner's Mind, Society and Human Action is a brilliant exposition of the implications of pursuing the “open” as opposed to “closed” perspective (what he terms neo-Mengerian orientation in contrast with a neo-Walrasian orientation). The closed model brings tractability, but only by rendering the social ordering process trivial. Reconciliation of the pursuit of individual interest and social order is not so much explained but collapsed one into the other. “Within this closed framework, people do not truly make choices. They face a list of enumerated options in the presence of a well-defined utility function, and the outcome is inexorable, similar to involuntary reflexes.” (2010: 21) Closed-ended theories of choice fit neatly with single-exit theories of the market.

Keywords: Menger, Walras, General Equilibrium, political economy

JEL Classification: B41, B53, P51

Suggested Citation

Boettke, Peter J., How Can We Avoid Closed-Ended and Single Exit Theories in Economics and Political Economy: Reflections on Richard Wagner's Mind, Society and Human Action (September 17, 2011). Studies in Emergent Order, Vol. 4 (2011): 149-155. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2497616

Peter J. Boettke (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
703-993-1149 (Phone)
703-993-1133 (Fax)

Paper statistics

Downloads
41
Abstract Views
436