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Title: The economic problem of a community: Ontological reflections inspired by the Socialist Calculation Debate
Authors: Lourenço, Diogo
Moura, Mário Graça
Keywords: Ontology
Socialist Calculation Debate
Economic role
Counterfactuals JEL classification: B24, B25, B41
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Citation: Lourenço, D., & Moura, M. G. (2017). The economic problem of a community: Ontological reflections inspired by the Socialist Calculation Debate. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 42, 1-17. doi:10.1093/cje/bex041. Disponível no Repositório UPT,
Abstract: Implicitly, the Socialist Calculation Debate is about the connection between neoclassical theory and reality. It involves several ontological presuppositions, with wide-ranging implications. Our purpose is to discuss one of these presuppositions. We want to scrutinise the conception, implicit in the ‘market socialist’ arguments, that things have economic roles or functions independently of the social environment in which they exist. Primary factors and techniques of production are taken to exist independently of social arrangements; jointly with consumer preferences, they are supposed to define the economic problem of a community. In criticising this conception, we borrow from F. A. Hayek, complementing his reflections with those of Donald Davidson, Tony Lawson and others. We also discuss a second problem, which follows directly from the first: if, in contrast with the market socialists’ conception, the economic roles of things depend holistically on complex social processes, how can we compare alternative forms of economic organisation?
ISSN: 0309-166X
Appears in Collections:REMIT – Artigos em Revistas Internacionais / Papers in International Journals

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