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Chapter 28: Global Finance and Development: False Starts, Dead Ends and Social Economic Alternatives
28 Global ﬁnance and development: false starts, dead ends and social economic alternatives Ilene Grabel Social economics entails a commitment to a range of interlinked principles that make it particularly appropriate as a basis for thinking critically but also productively about development. Now more than ever, in the face of widening global inequality in wealth ownership, incomes and meaningful opportunities, the social economic commitment to the value-ladeness of all economic inquiry, the 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 are particularly vital as we seek to theorize and design policy interventions that can bring about basic economic justice in the developing world. Central to the social economics tradition is the imperative to study ways of strengthening the weak and assisting the poor (Dugger, 1977, p. 300), wherever on the globe 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. For many working within this tradition, social economics entails an understanding of economists qua activists and educators with an ethical obligation to help society understand its possible alternative paths (Waters, 1990, p. 102). This understanding of the profession, however, does not imply that the economist is an omniscient ﬁgure standing above other social actors, as is the case in the...
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