01/19/2016

White, "Judgment: Balancing Principle and Policy" (2014 ASE Presidential Address)

ROSEJudgment is an element of decision-making that is of critical importance to both ethics and economics but remains underappreciated in both. In this paper, I describe one conception of moral judgment, drawn from the moral philosophy of Immanuel Kant and the legal philosophy of Ronald Dworkin, in which an agent weighs and balances the various moral duties and principles relevant to a choice situation in a way that maintains the integrity of her moral character. After explaining the foundations and uses of judgment in ethics, I discuss its importance to two areas of economic modeling, individual choice and policy-making, both of which can be enhanced by incorporating judgment alongside more basic ethical motivations and concerns.

Mark D. White, "Judgment: Balancing Principle and Policy," Review of Social Economy, 73/3 (2015), pp. 223-241.

(The video of the presidential address can be found here.)

01/15/2016

Read for free: Fontana and Sawyer, "Towards Post-Keynesian Ecological Macroeconomics"

ASE president Giuseppe Fontana and Malcolm Sawyer (both of the University of Leeds) have a new paper in Ecological Economics titled "Towards Post-Keynesian Ecological Macroeconomics" that is available to read for free:

The paper starts with a brief criticism of macroeconomic analyses of different schools of thought for their focus on economic growth and maximisation of output. This applies to the traditional Keynesian approach, which has focused on the achievement of sufficient aggregate demand to underpin full employment and full capacity utilisation, down-playing aggregate supply constraints. This also applies to the neoclassical approach, including the current New Consensus Macroeconomics approach, which asserts the dominant role of aggregate supply in the long run, and where growth is set by the so-called ‘natural rate of growth’, with no concerns over environmental and ecological issues. The paper then proposes a different approach to macroeconomic analysis. It explicitly acknowledges that economic growth is a double-edged sword. Growth can help to alleviate persistent levels of high unemployment, but it can also lead to potentially catastrophic environmental problems. Building on the Monetary Circuit theory and the Demand-led growth theory, the paper offers an analysis of the interconnections and interdependence of the economic, biophysical and social worlds and by doing it hopes to provide the building blocks for the establishment of post-Keynesian ecological macroeconomics.

Read the entire paper here.

01/12/2016

Read for free: 2015 best paper in Forum for Social Economics, Franklin Obeng-Odoom's "Africa: On the Rise, But to Where?"

Obeng-odoomThe Association for Social Economics' Patrick J. Welch Award, given to the best paper published in the Forum for Social Economics in 2015, goes to Franklin Obeng-Odoom's "Africa: On the Rise, But to Where?" As associate editor Cecilia Winters writes about the paper,

It not only addresses a part of the world that has long been neglected by economists buying in as they have to the “dark continent” image of Africa, but it is positively prescient with regard to the flurry of attention the development of Africa has gotten this past year. It is perhaps the amazing relevance has attracted the interest of our Forum readers. In July 2015 US president Obama conducted the third visit of his tenure to Africa, bringing attention to the Africa is open for business narrative. In December 2015, China pledged US$60 billion for Africa’s development over three years. Both events have fanned the flames of the neoliberal “Africa on the rise” sensation. The message is that Africa is now ready for take-off regarding its economic development and investment opportunities. The author of this notable article, however, succeeds in offering a critical perspective of the tension between the dominant neoliberal ideology and the ethical matters of jobs, poverty eradication, ecological sustainability, income inequality, well being and social justice.

During his electrifying November 2015 tour of several African countries, Pope Francis managed to echo some of the author’s analysis by decrying Western-style consumption as an indication of happiness and prosperity and condemning the historical exploitation of the continent’s mineral wealth. Our featured article and best paper not only reflects an excellent and timely explication of the tension between the objectives of neoclassical and social economists, but envisages the divergence in policy perception. Surely these public differences in interpretation of Africa’s ascendance are mirrored in the either officious or insightful impressions of visiting dignitaries; certainly they are exacerbated by China’s “offer” of development assistance. This article demystifies these public perceptions, commentaries and overtures toward Africa.

The problems with both mainstream economic analysis and the data employed suggests misleading conclusions about the “wonders” of economic growth. Attention is directed to the drawbacks of relying upon classical measures of growth to evaluate the benefits of the economic activity and changing milieu within countries on the continent. The neglect of other variables such as income share, market power, well being and happiness is a major limitation of neoclassical development analysis. To this end, the author compiles some data that show us in the case of some countries (Mauritius, Botswana) growth has been accompanied by declining unemployment and poverty with social interventions aggressively pursued in both places (237). However, other countries that have experienced growth (South Africa, Nigeria and Zambia) have experienced worsening inequality and increased poverty (ibid.).  Reliance upon the standard mainstream measures of growth does not give a complete or accurate picture of development within Africa.

The author profoundly considers the preceding facets and more. He deconstructs the neoliberal perspective of extolling the virtues of capital accumulation while at the same time neglecting the all-important ethical considerations of sustainability, well-being and social justice that reach “beyond the mainstream advocacy of bigger and more integrated markets in the name of globalisation” for the “limits to growth are real and dire” (241). The conclusive insight: the impossibility to sustain ever increasing growth remains at odds with the political impossibility to stop it. He therefore suggests moving beyond the concept of economic growth by placing less emphasis on capital accumulation and recognizing its physical and ecological limits.

You can read the paper for a limited time free of charge courtesy of Taylor and Francis.

12/22/2015

Call for papers: IIPPE panel on "Social Capital in Context: Crisis, Values and Power"

IIPPE’s Seventh International Conference in Political Economy
“Political Economy: International Trends and National Differences”
School of Economics & Management, University of Lisbon, Portugal
September 7-9, 2016
 
Call for Papers – Panel organised by Social Capital Working Group
 
Social Capital in Context: Crisis, Values and Power
 
 
Asimina Christoforou, Athens University of Economics and Business
Luca Andriani, Birkbeck, University of London
 
Economic models of social capital incorporate cooperative behaviour and trusting relations based on social norms and networks, challenging traditional assumptions of self-interest. Yet these models maintain instrumental, value-free, and individualist principles of rational choice, reducing cooperation, trust and solidarity to a means for satisfying individual preference and ensuring market efficiency. Thus they overlook the influence of the broader social and institutional context within which individuals and groups interact and which is characterized by diverse and conflictual interests, power and inequality, social and political struggles.
 
In this way, we fail to see that not all norms and networks are socially beneficial. For instance the current crises have fostered increasing poverty and inequality, the rise of extremist groups, the flux of immigrants and refugees, and the spread of uncertainty, fear and violence. There are groups in the private and public spheres that still promote policies that lead to market liberalization, welfare state retrenchment, the indebtedness of households and nations, the over-exploitation of the earth’s natural resources, and the degradation of certain ethnic and racial groups. At the same time, there are groups that resist these forces, raise social awareness and propose alternative values and networks for the restructuring of markets and states in order to protect the natural environment, human rights, justice and public welfare. These groups range from social movements spanning across countries to local organizations, especially in the social economy, mobilizing to respond to their community’s needs for subsistence and self-determination.
 
Thus we would like to invite contributions that re-contextualize conceptions and measures of social capital to incorporate the complex reality of social relations, as a dynamic space where people interact, define and pursue, individually and collectively, principles and objectives, means and ends for well-being. The aim is to uncover the dynamics of trust, cooperation and collective action to promote alternative principles and visions about the economy and society that favour public welfare. But we also encourage contributions that generally address the topic of social capital. We welcome works that derive from various social science disciplines and use different units of analysis (individual, regional, country or cross-country level), methodologies and techniques (theoretical, empirical, qualitative and quantitative).

Abstracts (500 words maximum) should be submitted to Asimina Christoforou (asimina.christoforou@gmail.com) and Luca Andriani (luca.andriani@bbk.ac.uk) by April 1, 2016.
 
Also to submit your abstract, please go to the following Electronic Proposal Form, and carefully follow the complete instructions there. All deadline dates are included on this Electronic Proposal Form.
 
For more general information about IIPPE, the working groups and the conference, please visit our website

12/21/2015

Call for papers: Special issue of Feminist Economics on "Sustainability, Ecology, and Care"

Caring, both in the practical sense of hands-on carework and in the emotional and ethical sense of “caring about,” has been a central focus of feminist economics. Feminist economists have reclaimed care as a subject of economic analysis, delving into its implications for economic methodology and advocating for appropriate support for carework activities directed toward the young, very old, and ill.  Feminist economists have at times also engaged with the pressing problem of environmental deterioration – exemplified by crises such as climate change, species extinction, and water scarcity – but the analysis is not as advanced. Ecological economics has at times incorporated questions of gender in its analyses, but here again the inquiry is limited.

Yet, while the fields of feminist and ecological economics have engaged in only limited ways to date, they have much in common. They strive to get recognition for essential services that are unaccounted for by markets (emotional work, nature’s life-support services), and they are developing alternatives to the exploitation of people and nature. We believe that a more thorough cross-fertilization between the fields of feminist economics and ecological economics could open new horizons. To bring more attention to this agenda, Feminist Economics invites submissions to a planned special issue on sustainability, ecology, and care.

The special issue is planned for print publication in January 2018 (with advance online publication in 2017). Feminist Economics especially welcomes contributions from the Global South and transition economies.

For more details, see here.

12/07/2015

New: Association for Social Economics YouTube channel!

Thanks to the efforts of ASE president Ellen Mutari, the Association for Social Economics now has a YouTube channel, where you can find presentations from the ASE program at the 2015 ASSA and the 2015 World Congress of Social Economics (with more videos to be uploaded as they become available).

For example, below is the opening plenary from the World Congress featuring Dr. Kari Polanyi Levitt.

12/03/2015

Call for submissions: 2016 Warren Samuels Prize (Deadline: December 18, 2015)

The Association for Social Economics, one of the founding member organizations of the Allied Social Science Associations, together with the Review of Social Economy, would like to invite submissions for the 2016 Warren Samuels Prize.

This prize is awarded to a paper, presented at the January ASSA meetings, that best exemplifies scholarly work that:

  • Is of high quality,
  • Is important to the project of social economics,
  • Has broad appeal across disciplines.

It is preferable, but not required, that the paper is presented at one of the ASSA sessions sponsored by the Association for Social Economics. Papers will not normally exceed 6,500 words (inclusive of references, notes), and should follow the style guidelines for the Review of Social Economy.

The winner of the prize will be announced during the ASE presidential breakfast, to which the winner is invited. The winning paper may, subject to peer review, be published in a subsequent issue of the Review of Social Economy. The winner of the Warren Samuels Prize receives a $500 stipend.

The selection committee consists of:

The immediate Past-President of the ASE;
A Co-editor of the Review of Social Economy (Chair);
A member of the Editorial Board, Review of Social Economy.

This prize is awarded to a paper, being presented at the January 2016 ASSA meetings, in sessions not restricted to sessions in the ASE program.

Please send your paper electronically, as a word or pdf attachment, to ASE past-president Mark D. White (profmdwhite@hotmail.com) by December 18, 2015.

11/17/2015

Lin, "Institutional Fundraising: An Analysis of Taiwan's Religious Enterprises"

ForumIn Taiwan, one could observe that several prominent religious groups such as Tzu Chi (founded by Master Cheng Yen in 1966), Fo Guang Shan (founded by Master Hsing Yun in 1967), and Dharma Drum Mountain (founded by the late Master Sheng Yen in 1989) have been constantly growing. These religious groups have not only attracted regular donors but also wealthy people within society and have been very successful in raising funds. Above all, they have established for themselves a worldwide reputation and become multinational religious enterprises. To analyze the fundraising performance of the aforementioned religious groups, this paper introduces some new concepts of institutions and also suggests several propositions on fundraising, entrepreneurship, and institutions. This paper points out that Taiwan's religious enterprises are an outgrowth of powerful fundraising performance. Once the religious groups enter the stage of institutional change, the amount of funds collected becomes the dominant exogenous variable and religious entrepreneurship becomes endogenous. Over time, this dynamic process has further promoted entrepreneurship. Again, entrepreneurship becomes the dominant exogenous variable and the funds accumulate at an increasing rate. Eventually, the religious enterprises emerge.

Brian Chi-Ang Lin, "Institutional Fundraising: An Analysis of Taiwan's Religious Enterprises," Forum for Social Economics, 44/3 (2015), pp. 284-296.

11/16/2015

Helmy, "Smith on Ancient Egypt and the Arab Islamic World: A Tale of Two Statist Models"

ForumThis paper endeavors to portray Egypt, the Arab, and Islamic worlds in the eyes of Adam Smith as implied in his work An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations from the perspective of the extent and desirability of state intervention in the economy. In other words, the paper attempts to analyze why Smith's stance on ancient Egypt changed from an example of opulence to an eighteenth-century Egypt that—together with other Arab and Islamic countries—represents a model with many challengeable aspects, although the extent of the state action was remarkable in both models, the ancient and the contemporary. Our premise is that Smith did not defend or attack the models based on the extent of state intervention in the economy, but on whether its intervention was conducive to, first, raising the person's well-being and, second, promoting the morals of Smith's “commercial” society.

Heba E. Helmy, "Smith on Ancient Egypt and the Arab Islamic World: A Tale of Two Statist Models," Forum for Social Economics, 44/3 (2015), pp. 251-283.

11/13/2015

Obeng-Odoom, "Africa: On the Rise, but to Where?"

ForumUPDATE: This is an award-winning paper! See more here.

Africa's hitherto negative image is now being rapidly replaced by a new persona: ‘Africa on the rise’. Developed mainly from Africa's growth experience, this re-imaging of Africa has generated considerable interest even among Africanists concerned that the continent has often been the target of crisis jokes. Even more notably, the rebranding of Africa has gained traction in corridors of power and centres of finance. For this latter group, however, the narrative signals more than a cultural repackaging. It is about confirming that Africa is ripe and ready to host investment and to open up markets in areas where they did not exist or existed but were not capitalist in form. Either way, however, the ‘Africa on the rise’ narrative achieves a major political and economic goal. Neglecting ethical questions about sustainable jobs, inequality and ecological crisis, while extolling the virtues of capital accumulation, it extends a particular neoliberal ideology which favours people with market power, not the majority with precarious positions or their relationship with nature.

Franklin Obeng-Odoom, "Africa: On the Rise, but to Where?Forum for Social Economics, 44/3 (2015), pp. 234-250.