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Humanistic Economics

Humanistic Economics for academics, particularly economists, can be be understood as a type of human welfare economics. For those who are disenchanted with some of the conventional core concepts, (such as: utility maximization; Pareto-type efficiency; perfect competition; laissez-faire; absentee corporate ownership; comparative advantage; and the faith in unlimited economic growth), it offers an alternative to prevailing orthodoxy.

Five essential elements of humanistic economics can be summarized as follows:

  • A history that goes back almost two centuries and starts with the economic writings of J.C.L Simonde de Sismondi and finds a more recent recent articulation in the works of E.F. Schumacher during the 1970’s and others since that time.
  • A critique of contemporary micro- and macroeconomic theories, particularly those relating to equality, efficiency, agency, motivation, work, international trade theory, globalization, development and growth, ecology, social accounting, and macroeconomic stability.
  • A critical analysis of socio-economic institutions including property, corporate power, the workplace, and the global institutions governing international commerce and finance.
  • A normative analysis based on human dignity and basic human rights that addresses issues of poverty amidst plenty, economic democracy, ecological sustainability and socio-economic development.
  • A realist philosophical discourse opposed to all kinds of nominalism, relativism, scientism, and post-modernism.

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