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Almeida Vasco (Instituto Superior Miguel Torga)
The Moral and Political Dimension of Economics : the Fact-Value Dichotomy
Annales : etyka w życiu gospodarczym, 2016, vol. 19, nr 4, s. 7-21, bibliogr. 36 poz.
Annales. Ethics in Economic Life
Ekonomia polityczna, Filozofia moralna, Historia myśli ekonomicznej
Political economy, Moral philosophy, History of economic thought
Since the neoclassical school, the separation between facts and values, is and ought, positive and normative, has become a concern in conventional economic analyses. Economics should focus on facts, and present general principles, leaving the choice of various technical alternatives to policy makers. This article addresses the following questions: can economics, seen as a positive science, be separated from the political dimension? Is it possible to separate facts from values or are they necessarily intertwined? After showing how the separation between economics and moral philosophy unfolded throughout the history of economic thought, the article analyses the fact-value dichotomy discussion and concludes that facts and values are necessarily intertwined. Then, the article shows that the premises and theories of conventional economic theories contain hidden values, despite being presented as universal truths on which policies are based, and thus fail to discuss the various perspectives of the problems. Reviving a tradition commenced by Aristotle, the article concludes by arguing that economics is necessarily moral and political. However, the acknowledgement of the normative nature of economics cannot compromise the pursuit of objectivity. (original abstract)
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