Handbook on the Economics of Reciprocity and Social Enterprise
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Handbook on the Economics of Reciprocity and Social Enterprise

Edited by Luigino Bruni and Stefano Zamagni

The recent era of economic turbulence has generated a growing enthusiasm for an increase in new and original economic insights based around the concepts of reciprocity and social enterprise. This stimulating and thought-provoking Handbook not only encourages and supports this growth, but also emphasises and expands upon new topics and issues within the economics discourse.
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Chapter 3: Anti-utilitarianism and the gift-paradigm

Alain Caillé


I intend to give a sketchy presentation of the academic work accomplished by an interdisciplinary review in social science, La Revue du MAUSS, The Review of the Anti-utilitarian Movement in Social Science (see www.revuedumauss.com and www. journaldumauss.net). This review was founded in 1981 by economists and sociologists as a reaction to the overwhelming development and imperialism of what has been called the ‘Economic model’ in the social sciences. In the 1960s, and especially with the Chicago School and the work of Gary Becker (or effectively Hayek but in another form), economists began to believe that their Rational Action (or Choice) Theory was fit to explain not only what is happening on the market and through monetary exchanges, but any kind of social behavior: learning, wedding, love, crime etc. And, what is more surprising, the other social sciences, starting with sociology, at this time largely agreed with this contention. In fact, this enlargement of the traditional scope of economic science has been the prelude and the starting point to neo-liberalism which is nowadays triumphing in academic economic science as well as in the real world.

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