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A TRANSDISCIPLINARY APPROACH

Complexity Economists

WE WELCOME NAIDU, RODRIK, AND ZUCMAN’S contribution and the debate it has inspired. We share much of their agenda for an economics “beyond neoliberalism”, in particular their emphasis on more empiricism, greater policy relevance, an increased focus on economic inclusion, and a broader notion of prosperity. We are also heartened by their calls to turn away from “market fetishism”; to reintroduce concerns about economic, social, and political power; and to take a more systemic, less siloed view of the economy.

Nonetheless, we believe that Naidu, Rodrik, and Zucman do not go far enough in their calls for reform. The vision they paint is still focused on the discipline of economics and anchored in the core ideas of neoclassical theory that dominated the field in the twentieth century. We believe that in order for economics to progress, it needs to fully embrace a transdisciplinary approach and modernize a number of its key concepts. Our backgrounds are in economics, political science, psychology, anthropology, physics, computer science, evolutionary theory, and complex systems theory. To us, the phenomenon called “the economy” is a highly complex, multilevel system that encompasses human biology, human behavior, group behavior, institutions, technologies, and culture, all mutually entangled in networks of nonlinear, dynamic feedback.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Boston Review - Economics After Neoliberalism (Summer 2019)
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About Boston Review

Economics After Neoliberalism offers a powerful case for a new brand of economics—one focused on power and inequality and aimed at a more inclusive society. Three prominent economists—Suresh Naidu, Dani Rodrik, and Gabriel Zucman—lead off with a vision “for economic policy that stands as a genuine alternative to market fundamentalism.” Expanding on “the state of creative ferment” they describe, Boston Review has commissioned responses to their essay from economists, philosophers, political scientists, and policymakers across the political spectrum as well as new essays that challenge the current shape of markets and suggest more democratic alternatives. Lenore Palladino explores the misguided logic of shareholder primacy and points to more equitable approaches to corporate governance—such as employee ownership funds. Amy Kapczynski examines how the courts have developed a new, anti-democratic First Amendment that protects corporate speech at the expense of regulation designed to protect public health and safety. And Robert Manduca explores the importance of public discussion about economics by revisiting Chester Bowles's remarkable book, Tomorrow Without Fear, which explained Keynesian ideas to the public after World War II.

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Other Articles in this Issue


Boston Review
This publication was made possible by a generous grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
NEAR THE END of Capitalism and Freedom (1962), Milton
FORUM
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A DEFINING FEATURE of Naidu, Rodrik, and Zucman’s essay
SINCE COMPLAINTS about the domination of market fundamentalism
LIKE NAIDU, RODRIK, AND ZUCMAN, I celebrate the advantages
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NAIDU, RODRIK, AND ZUCMAN are on the cutting edge of
THE RESPONSES IN THIS FORUM are too insightful to engage
ESSAYS
“LET’S BRING OUR EDITORIAL MICROSCOPE into focus on
HOW DO WE TALK about economics? Robert Manduca’s essay
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THE FIRST AMENDMENT has long been celebrated as the
Samuel Bowles is Arthur Spiegel Research Professor