Multidisciplinary Economics, A Methodological Account, Oxford: OUP, May, 2015

The most important misunderstanding in economics is the idea that orthodox economic theory, as we know from regular textbooks, offers an acceptable foundation for the study of real life economies. Orthodox economics, however, analyses the economic ASPECT, thereby – on purpose – ignoring the other two primary aspects of human life: the psychic and the social aspect.

This book discusses orthodox economic theory thoroughly, and compares it with a whole series of heterodox economic approaches. It draws the conclusion  that heterodoxy does not offer a serious alternative. The book discusses a whole series of psychological and sociological approaches, to find out what these disciplines has on offer for economists. A lot! The book develops an analysis of the psychic and of the social aspect of human behaviour. These two aspects are integrated with the typical economic analysis. In this way, a paradigm and analysis is developed, which functions as a more realistic context for the meaning of familar concepts, such as rationality, morality, efficiency, technology and institutions.

Table of Content


Part I Science, Social Science, Economics

  • Introduction
  • The Character of Science
    1. Practical Problems and Primitive Solutions
    2. Western Science as a Product of Modernity
    3. Modern Philosophy of Science
    4. Twentieth-century Philosophy of Science
    5. Three Philosophical Questions
    6. Modernity and Post-modernity
    7. Causality and Reason
    8. The Structure of Knowledge
    9. Strategies of Specialisation
    10. The Organisation of Human Science
    11. Methodological Pluralism
  • Genesis and Development of Economics and Sociology
    1. Introduction
    2. Modern Moral Philosophy as the Foundation of Social Science
    3. The Emergence of Classical Political Economy
    4. From Classical Political Economy to Orthodox and Neoclassical Economics
    5. The Institutionalist Critique of Neoclassical Economics
    6. From Classical Political Economy to Classical Sociology
    7. Economics in the Interbellum: The Macro Revolution of Keynes
    8. Post-war Economic Growth in Western Europe

Part II Economics

II.1 Introduction

II.2 The Ontological Difference between Orthodox and Heterodox Economics

II.3 Ecology

  • Orthodox Microeconomics
    1. Introduction
    2. The Economic World
    3. Orthodox Microeconomic Analysis
      1. Demand and Supply
      2. Perfect Competition
      3. Non-individual Goods and Externalities
      4. Towards a More Realistic Analysis of the Economic World
      5. Imperfectly Competitive Market Structures
    4. New Institutional Economics
      1. Introduction
      2. Property Rights
      3. The Market as an Institution
      4. Governance Structures
      5. The Revival of Original Institutional Economics
    5. Public Choice
      1. Introduction
      2. Direct Democracy
      3. Representative Democracy
      4. Bureaucracy
      5. Interest Groups
      6. Imperfectly Informed Actors in the Public World
      7. New Political Macro Economy
  • Orthodox Macroeconomics
    1. Introduction
    2. Business Cycles and Inflation
    3. Orthodox Growth Theory
    4. Neoclassical Empirical Research
      1. Economics as an Empirical Science
      2. Econometrics
    5. Economic Growth, Happiness and the Good Life
    6. Academic Education of Economics
    7. Epilogue: the Crisis as a Turning Point?

Heterodox Economics

  • Evolution and Entrepreneurship, an Evolutionary and an Austrian View
    1. Introduction
    2. Evolutionary Economics
      1. Introduction
      2. The Darwinian Natural Selection Model
      3. Selection in the World After the Emergence of Humans
      4. Economics of Technological Change
      5. The Return of Original Institutional Economics
      6. The Future of Evolutionary Economics
    3. Austrian Economics
      1. Introduction
      2. Praxeology and Historical Development
      3. Subjectivism
      4. Market as a Competitive Process
      5. Institutionalisation of Free Markets
      6. The Calculation Debate
      7. Schumpeter as a Special Case
      8. Austrian Macroeconomics
      9. Conclusion
  • Radical Economics
    1. Introduction
    2. The Economics of Marx

Intermezzo A Very Concise History of Continental Europe: 1850-1950

      1. Current Radical Economics
      2. A Radical View on the Financial Crisis 2008
      3. Conclusion
  • Post-Keynesian Economics
    1. Introduction
    2. The Methodology of Keynes
    3. The Economic Analysis of Keynes
    4. Neoclassical Reactions on the Analysis of Keynes
    5. Leijonhufvud’s Idea of the Corridors
    6. New Keynesian Economics
    7. Post-Keynesian Economics
      1. Introduction
      2. The Macro Goods Market
      3. The Macro Labour Market
      4. The Macro Financial Market
      5. The Post-Keynesian Position in the Crisis Debate
      6. Conclusion
  1. Social Economics
    1. Introduction
    2. The Methodology of Social Economics
    3. Institutions
      1. Introduction
      2. Greif about Culture and Institutions
      3. Aalbers (et al) about the Securitisation Revolution
      4. Elinor Ostrom about the Diversity of Institutions
      5. Acemoglu about Economic Power and Institutions
      6. Dolfsma and Spithoven about Silent Trade
    4. Socio-Economics
      1. Introduction
      2. Van der Lippe and Siegers about the Labour Division between Husband and Wife
      3. Schenk about the Mergers & Acquisitions Wave
      4. Keizer about Over-optimistic Ideologies and Attitudes
    5. The Philosophical Roots of Social Economics
      1. Introduction
      2. Sen on Rationality
      3. Sen on the Financial and Economic Crisis
    6. Conclusion


Part III Psychology for Economists

  • Psychology for Economists
    1. Introduction
    2. The Origin of Psychology
    3. Perspectives in Psychology
      1. Introduction
      2. The Cognitive Approach
      3. The Behaviourist Approach
      4. The Psycho-dynamic Approach
      5. The Humanist Approach
      6. The Biological Approach
      7. The Social-psychological Approach
    4. Behavioural Economics
      1. A General Overview
      2. Neuroeconomics
      3. Cognitive Science
    5. The Social Factor
    6. The Psychic WorldAppendix Do the Germans Have a Monetary Trauma?

Part IV Sociology for Economists


  • Macro and Micro Approaches in Sociology
    1. Macro-sociology: functionalism versus the conflict approach
      1. Functionalism
      2. The Conflict Approach
    2. Micro-Sociological Approaches
      1. Introduction
      2. Symbolic Interactionism
      3. Exchange, Network and Rational Choice Analysis
    3. The Relationship between Micro and Macro Analysis

Box: The Emergence of the System of Dutch Labour Relations

Appendix 11.1 Practical Problems and the Framing of their Situation

Appendix 11.2 A Social Scientific Discourse

  • The Historical Approach in Sociology
    1. Introduction
    2. Two Interpretations of the History of Mankind
    3. Modernity
      1. Introduction
      2. The Juggernaut
      3. The Holocaust
      4. Habermas’ Way Out
      5. Globalisation: Problem or Solution
    4. From Structuralism to Post-Structuralism and Post-modernity
      1. Structuralism and Post-structuralism
      2. Post-modernity
      3. Post-social Theory
    5. Conclusions
  • Multidisciplinary Sociology and The Social World
    1. Introduction
    2. Psychological Sociology
      1. Introduction
      2. Group-Based Hierarchies: psychological, social-psychological and social-structural explanations
      3. Box: European Union and Rivalry
    3. Economic Sociology
      1. Introduction
      2. New Economic Sociology
      3. Culture Matters
      4. Sociology of Labour Markets
      5. Sociology of Financial Markets
      6. Networks in Economic Life

Methodological Assessment

    1. The Social World
      1. Introduction
      2. The Axioms of the Social World
      3. The Technique of Producing Status in the Social World
      4. Us versus Them
      5. The Moral Constraint
      6. Social Desire and Economic Need
      7. Irrational Persons and Irrational Societies

Part V Towards an Integration of the Three worlds

V.1 Introduction

V.2 Technology and Institution

V.3 Historicity

V.4 Ecology

V.5 Openness of Systems

V.6 Macro Analysis

  • Integration of the Three Worlds
    1. The Economic World
    2. The Social World
    3. The Psychic World
    4. The Psychic-economic World
    5. The Social-economic World
    6. The Psychic-social World
    7. The Psychic-economic-social World
  • Applications of the Multi-motivational Framework of Interpretation
    1. Discrimination as an Economic and Social Cost
    2. A Cost-Benefit Analysis of (In)Equality
    3. Four More or Less Persistent Systems
    4. Meaning of Concepts in the MDE-World
      1. Utilities (preferences), resources and technology
      2. Rationality
      3. Morality
      4. Institutions
      5. Ecology
      6. The Openness of Systems
      7. Macro Analysis
      8. Parsimony

Part VI Conclusions

  • Conclusions


  1. The Logical World
  2. Kant for Economists
  3. Jung for Economists
  4. Adam Smith as the Founding Father of Multidisciplinary Economics
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