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Crisis of Capitalism and alternative solutions. Re-thinking Economics through Humanities

Salvatore Drago (University of Messina) organizes the Panel "Crisis of Capitalism and alternative solutions. Re-thinking Economics through Humanities: Ethics, History, Philosophy, Religion and Sociology in dialogue" within the IIPPE’s Sixth International Conference in Political Economy "Rethinking Economics: Pluralism, Interdisciplinarity and Activism” that will take place at the University of Leeds, UK, on September 9-11, 2015. The deadline for submission is March 27, 2015.

This Panel aims at fulfilling three essential purposes:

To understand how actually the recent economic and financial crisis is also a crisis of religious and ethical values that have been excluded from the economic science legislation all over the centuries, starting from its financial origins to its effects on the real economy of citizens and enterprises. Incidentally, in this first purpose, we want to analyse the ethical values of religious origin, such as solidarity, subsidiary, common good, universal destination of goods, social good, care and charity and see how these values can correct, lead and support the element that have been distorted by the traditional conventional economy of positivist and marginal tendency. The comprehension of the religious influences that are able to change the direction of the conventional economy and those of the global Capitalism means to use a non conventional, practical and theoretical point of view, able to connect economy to the dimension from which depended before (the Religion) and, therefore, the consequent philosophies and anthropologies deriving from that. An approach that is necessary, in order to understand the direction of the world in the 21st century and in order to consider economy as a result of the societies and cultures occurred over history.

To analyse the most meaningful steps of the history of the economic conception, starting from the classic period, through the Positivism till the modern heterodox economic theories, in order to see the most important religious influences that have conditioned the conception and the economic theories of lots of economists and economic schools by using a double proceeding: the analysis of the history of the economic thought about the “falling” of religious and ethical elements that have led the economy to emancipate themselves from religion and become a positivist, “value free” science; and by analysing a parallel history of the economic thought where the religious, ethical, social and civil elements have been always inside.

From methodological point of view, this work wants to go on, by following several ideological and historical routes of application. To implement a deconstruction of the history of the economic thought and, therefore, of the historical and ideological evolution of the capitalistic concept and how it has imposed all over the centuries, through a philosophical method processed for the first time by the philosopher R. Descartes and taken in the contemporary time by his fellow countryman J. Derrida: the method of the pars destruens and pars construens dialectic. The first one wants to deconstruct the concepts and the most important steps of the history of the economic thought and the Capitalism and see the dynamics that have led economy to turn into a positive and “sad” science with strong mathematic and statistic implications all over the years and, in second time, by moving away from the clear religious and ethical references. For instance, this is the case of the strength of the economic theory of Marginalism that considered the homo oeconomicus in a static landscape, dominated by the statistics and able to foresee the conduct on the market; on the contrary, in the first half of the 19th century, it has supplanted the human value of the European civil economy that had deeper roots in the Religion’s values (firstly Christian Religion and Protestantism), in order to validate an economy, considered as “public happiness” and “ the science of the social well living”. As K.Marx, K. Polany and  the “Seattle People” argued, the ethics’ and the religious oblivion has conceived economy and market as the place of the exploitation and the predominance of the stronger person against the weaker one. On the contrary, through the pars construens, we want to analyse those aspects of economic thought and of the Capitalism that have considered the human aspect as the strongest point of force in the processing and in the proposition of economic theories and economic policy solution. Basically, we try to show how economy is above all a normative science, able to foresee and analyse how the world should be, gradually abandoning its neutral, non- evaluative nature, according to the model expressed by M. Friedman (Essay on Positive Economics). In this perspective, the research of the religious and philosophical roots of categories and concepts normally used by economy (such as production, distribution, growing up, development and sustainability) means to show how the mathematical, statistical, mechanic and allocative aspects are just the tip of a visible and easily manageable iceberg, based on an immense part, resulting from culture, religion and philosophy.

If you are interested, send an abstract before 27 March 2015 to the Working Group Coordinator (Dr. Salvatore Drago): [email protected]

The proposers may be included in the Working Group, even if unable to partecipate at the Conference.

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