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Man as Machine: The Plight of 20th Century Economics

Annals of the Society for the History of Economic Thought, , Vol. 43, pp. 1-10, June 2003

10 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2006 Last revised: 27 Feb 2012

Peter J. Boettke

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Christopher J. Coyne

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Peter T. Leeson

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Abstract

We argue that in the 20th century economic theory took a path that purged human actors from economic analysis. We describe this evolution as the result of four competing visions in economics: the analytic narrative approach pursued by the classical economists, New Institutional Economics, and Austrian economics, the approach of the old institutional economics, the approach of modern neoclassical economics, and an approach that blended neoclassical economics with a particular form of game theory, which we call formalistic historicism. We contend that only the first of these visions is consistent with acting man as the center of economic analysis. Movement back to human-centered economics requires a return to this vision.

Keywords: A14, B20, B52, B53

JEL Classification: Evolution of Economics, Methodology, Praxeology

Suggested Citation

Boettke, Peter J. and Coyne, Christopher J. and Leeson, Peter T., Man as Machine: The Plight of 20th Century Economics. Annals of the Society for the History of Economic Thought, , Vol. 43, pp. 1-10, June 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=881780

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)

Christopher J. Coyne

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Peter T. Leeson

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.peterleeson.com

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