Critical Essays on the Political Economy of Neo-Liberalism
Edited by Philip Arestis and Malcolm Sawyer
Preface to Chapters 4 and 5
Ben Fine The two of my papers included in this volume mark the progress made over the short period of three years that separates them in an ongoing study of ‘economics imperialism’, the colonization of the other social sciences (and political economy) by mainstream economics. The ﬁrst was inspired by a wish to understand how two authors, Becker and Bourdieu, from different disciplines and with radically different methodologies and ideologies could share use of the term ‘social capital’. As reported in the second, this gave rise to a continuing study of the topic in its own right, Fine (2002 and 2003) most recently. The second chapter, though, is wider in its scope and also shifts in focus to examine in what sense the latest, and most virulent, phase of economics imperialism represents a shift in paradigm from a Kuhnian perspective (even though this perspective is itself open to question). The chapter also begins to address the factors that have prompted the latest phase of economics imperialism and allow it to have a different impact in content and depth by topic and discipline.1 One important conclusion is that outcomes are far from predetermined, not least because of the renewal of interest in the political economy of contemporary capitalism across the social sciences. In very different ways, with very different consequences, for example, this renewal is marked by the meteoric rise of interest in ‘globalization’ and, to a lesser extent, social capital. Thus, with a renewal of political economy across the social...
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