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Anderson, Elizabeth. Ethical Assumptions in Economic Theory: Some Lessons from the History of Credit and Bankruptcy
2004, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 7.4, 347-360
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Added by: Björn Freter

Abstract: This paper evaluates the economic assumptions of economic theory via an examination of the capitalist transformation of creditor-debtor relations in the 18th century. This transformation enabled masses of people to obtain credit without moral opprobrium or social subordination. Classical 18th century economics had the ethical concepts to appreciate these facts. Ironically, contemporary economic theory cannot. I trace this fault to its abstract representations of freedom, efficiency, and markets. The virtues of capitalism lie in the concrete social relations and social meanings through which capital and commodities are exchanged. Contrary to laissez faire capitalism, the conditions for sustaining these concrete capitalist formations require limits on freedom of contract and the scope of private property rights.

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Olsaretti, Serena. Children as Public Goods?
2013, Philosophy and Public Affairs 41(3): 226-258.
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Added by: Carl Fox

Content: Olsaretti is interested in the question of whether nonparents in a just society have a duty to share some of the costs of raising children with those people who choose to be parents. She considers the main argument in favour of that claim, that children are public goods. Although she sees some merit in the public goods approach, she develops an alternative socialised goods argument, which she holds to be ultimately stronger.

Comment: Helpful for examining issues around children, parents, non-parents and distributive justice, and also for thinking about individuals bearing responsibility for choices more generally. Could be a specialised required reading or further reading.

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Posel, Dorrit. Enriching economics in South Africa: interdisciplinary collaboration and the value of quantitative – qualitative exchanges
2017, Journal of Economic Methodology 24: 119-133
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Added by: Björn Freter

Abstract: Since the transition to democracy in the early 1990s, economic research and instruction in South Africa have become far more quantitative and technically sophisticated. In this paper, I trace and discuss reasons for these developments, and I argue that this quantification of economics should not be at the expense of exchanges with qualitative data that fail the criterion of being representative, or with other disciplines that are less quantitative. With South Africa’s complex history, persistent inequality and considerable cultural diversity, economics has much to gain from interdisciplinary collaboration and mixed methods research.

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