Intersubjectivity in Economics: Agents and Structures – edited by Edward Fullbrook

The editor of this volume is Edward Fullbrook, who is founder and editor of the Real-World Economics Review and a research fellow in the School of Economics at the University of the West of England. The volume explores the notion of intersubjectivity in economics and explodes the is of neoclassical economics of an atomistic economic ma—one who determines his preferences and choices entirely on his own. Individuals are not monadic, isolated things but interdividuals who are relational creatures and whose being and subjectivity is dynamic because it is constituted in relationship with others. Only by understanding those relationships, and especially their mimetic forces, can we approach economics with a robust understanding of the complex forces at work in the world on both a micro and macro scale.

In the introduction to the book, the authors set out the fundamental problem with a Newtonian, atonomistic concept of the human person on which most of economics was built beginning in the late nineteenth century. “Application of atomism to the economic realm means treating human desires and proclivities as fundamental data, which, like the masses of physical bodies in classical mechanics, are not affected by the relations being modeled.” In mimetic theory, in which every desire has a relational aspect, this construction of economics falls apart as absurd.

“It often happens,” wrote John Stuart Mill, “that the universal belief of one age of mankind…becomes to a subsequent age so palpable an absurdity, that the only difficulty then is to imagine how such a thing can ever have appeared credible.” This book unveils one such absurdity.

The contributors to the volume include Frank Ackerman, John B. Davis, Jean-Pierre Dupuy, Armin Falk, Ernst Fehr, Edward Fullbrook, Shaun P. Hargreaves Heap, Geoffrey M. Hodgson, Frederic Lebaron, Thierry Levy, Paul Lewis, Roger Mason, Anne Mayhew, Paul Ormerod, Ralph William Pfouts, Jochen Runde, S. Abu Turab Rizvi, Laurent Thevenot, and Peter Wynarczyk.

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