Reflections of Eminent Economists

Reflections of Eminent Economists

Edited by Michael Szenberg and Lall Ramrattan

In this collection of autobiographical essays, 26 prominent scholars detail their professional development, while offering insight into their lives and philosophies. With candor and humor they relate how they came to the field of economics, as well as how their views have evolved over the years.

Chapter 16: Some Ethical and Methodological Convictions

E. Malinvaud

Subjects: economics and finance, economic psychology, history of economic thought


* E. Malinvaud The essays published here are sorts of autobiographies by academic economists about their scientific motivations and their professional life. This will also be the case in my contribution. I shall make an honest attempt at taking a philosophical stance and considering economics from the two standpoints of ethics and methodology, the only realms of philosophy about which I have definite ideas on how to apply them in my field. I shall try to avoid as much as possible repetitions of details, reported in what I wrote not so long ago about my main contributions to our discipline for a series of ‘recollections on professional experience’ (Malinvaud, 1987). This essay is not the place for lengthy arguments for my ethical or methodological positions, which a philosopher would find neither original nor deeply rooted in anything other than the environments in which I was born, grew up, and worked. Thinking that these environments may be unfamiliar to readers, I shall briefly characterize them when necessary. INITIAL MOTIVATIONS At the age of 13, I was taking the regular curriculum, along with Latin and Greek, at the ‘lycée de Limoges,’ the public high school of Limoges, a provincial, somewhat industrial town in a mostly rural area. A good deal of my spare time was spent as a Christian boy scout, sharing the enthusiasm about the movement that was frequent in those years. My family was loving and secure. My father was a lawyer with socialist ideas, who married late because...

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