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Economics as moral philosophy

Summary:
From Asad Zaman Among the many dimensions I have listed in “New Directions in Macroeconomics”, the most important is the moral dimension. If we take Adam Smith as the founder, economics was born as a branch of moral philosophy. However, modern economists claim that the subject is purely positive and scientific, and makes no value judgments. Before we can discuss moral dimensions of economic theories, we must counter this claim, and establish that, contrary to claims made by economists, the subject is deeply and inherently normative. The level of cognitive dissonance required to maintain that economics is objective and value free is much greater than that required to maintain that the earth is flat. How apparently rational and sane people can hold such a stance is in itself a puzzle. I

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from Asad Zaman

Among the many dimensions I have listed in “New Directions in Macroeconomics”, the most important is the moral dimension. If we take Adam Smith as the founder, economics was born as a branch of moral philosophy. However, modern economists claim that the subject is purely positive and scientific, and makes no value judgments. Before we can discuss moral dimensions of economic theories, we must counter this claim, and establish that, contrary to claims made by economists, the subject is deeply and inherently normative. The level of cognitive dissonance required to maintain that economics is objective and value free is much greater than that required to maintain that the earth is flat. How apparently rational and sane people can hold such a stance is in itself a puzzle. I have attempted to provide an explanation of this puzzle in Section 2 of “Islam’s Gift: An Economy of Spiritual Development”.

Because economists deny their existence, it is necessary to unearth and expose the norms at the foundations of modern economics, in order to create the room for rational discussion of alternatives. In “The Normative Foundations of Scarcity”, I have displayed three major normative assumptions, all of which are required to make scarcity the foundation of economics.  read more

Asad Zaman
Physician executive. All opinions are my personal. It is okay for me to be confused as I’m learning every day. Judge me and be confused as well.

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