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The Socio-Economic Order and Economists

The Socio-Economic Order and Economists

Journal of Institutional Studies, , Vol. 10 (no. 1),

The author of the review analyses the new book of Vladimir Yefimov «Economic science in question: other methodology, history and research practice» (2016), in which the profession of economists is considered from the point of view, from one side of its immersion in a particular socio-economic order, and, on the other – its influence on the latter. This is done by analysing profession of university and academic economists as an institution, the rules of functioning of which throughout the history of this profession was determined largely from outside the community of economists. The birth of the profession of economists in the mid-nineteenth century was associated with the emergence of social question, caused by the appearance of industrial capitalism, and three currents of economic thought (classical political economy and later neo-classical economics, Marxist political economy and the original institutionalism offered three different explanations and, therefore, three different solutions to this question. The book outlines the twists and turns of the development of the first and third of these currents, and explains the disappearance, starting from 1950-ies, of the original institutionalism, while the economics in the West and Marxism in the Soviet Union began to serve the interests of the ruling elites and acted as the ideology, not as the science. Scientific economic discipline was presented then only by the original institutionalism, drawing the insights from the historical-ethical school headed by G. Smaller, the philosophy of pragmatism by C. S. Pierce and the concept of person by John. Dewey, was directly involved in the study of economic reality (economic institutions, rules, habits, beliefs and values that guide the behaviour of economic actors) with the help of qualitative research methods (interviews, participant observation, action research). This methodology assumes that actors are competent in specific problematic situations, which means that only they, in cooperation with experts, (not the experts alone, as is the case in elitist democracies) may be in a process of discussion (deliberation) to come to the solution of these problems. Hence V. Yefimov makes an attempt, on the one hand, to restore the original research practice of institutionalism in the form of a historical-discursive and constructivist institutionalism (which will serve as a framework social theory), and, on the other hand, to propose a project of socio-economic order based on deliberative democracy.


Keywords: pragmatism, constructivism, economic methodology, social question, economic discipline, the profession of the economists, German historical-ethical school, original American institutionalism, economic education, the welfare state, values of economists, deliberative democracy

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