Chapter 32: Finance, development and social economics in view of the global crisis
Social economics entails a commitment to a range of interlinked principles that makes it particularly appropriate as a basis for thinking critically but also productively about development. Social economics is marked by a commitment to the value-ladeness of all economic inquiry, an ethical imperative to engage in ameliorative practice, appreciation of the embeddedness of the economy (and economic actors) in social relations and institutions, and to holistic theorizing. Now more than ever, these commitments are particularly vital as we seek to theorize and design policy interventions that can bring about basic economic justice in the developing world in the face of widening global inequality in wealth ownership and incomes. These long-standing problems have been made far more severe by the unfolding fallout of the global financial crisis on the world’s poor. In this context it is critically important to recall that central to the social-economics tradition is the imperative to study ways of strengthening the weak and assisting the poor (Dugger, 1977: 300; DeMartino, 2001), wherever they reside. The internationalism of this commitment to improving the circumstances of the poor flows directly from the foundational constructs of interconnectedness and holism, as well as from the understanding of economics as a fundamentally moral science directed to social improvement.
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