Expectations and the Meaning of Institutions: Essays in Economics

By Don Lavoie; Ludwig Lachmann | Go to book overview
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From Lachmann's 1959 paper, 'Professor Shackle on the Significance of Time' ([1959] 1977:89). All the Lachmann citations are included in the Appendix at the end of this book.
For useful intellectual biographies of Lachmann, see Grinder (1977) and Mittermaier (1992).
See, for example, Addleson (1993), Boettke (1990), Ebeling (1985; 1986; 1991), Horwitz (1992), Madison (1991), Prychitko (1990) and Rector (1991).
Debreu's approach is a case in point. To be fair, it is apparently the case that the Austrians tried to achieve this sort of insulation of their theory from empirical challenge. At least the traditional interpretation of Mises's methodological position makes it this sort of 'Euclidean' approach. See however, Lachmann ([1966] 1977:45-64) and Lavoie (1986) for an alternative interpretation.
Elsewhere (1990a) I have argued for the view that economists ought to become more like anthropologists in their empirical work.
For example, Donald McCloskey (1985) has been trying, so far without too much success, to awaken economists from their complacency, and consider trying to fashion post-modern re-interpretations of their ideas.
It might be argued that the growing influence of rational choice models in political science and sociology proves that economics is not 'isolationistic' but on the contrary is colonizing its neighbouring disciplines. But I think efforts at economic imperialism only illustrate the profundity of the problem. Neoclassical economists, who are not only to be found in economics departments, are unable to understand what is going on in sociology and political science other than what they themselves have done there. Rational choice political scientists and sociologists are as unable to truly listen to non-economistic voices in those disciplines as professional economists are.
Among the books that sketch the implications of hermeneutics for the social sciences in general, the two editions of Rabinow and Sullivan's (1979, 1987) Interpretive Social Science are among the best, though


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