About this book
This book champions the view that economics is a social science, and that, moreover, it may serve as a new paradigm for the social sciences. Economics is taken to be part of those sciences which deal with actual problems of society by providing insights, improving our understanding and suggesting solutions. I am aware that the way problems are addressed here has little in common with economics as it is generally understood today; most economists make strong efforts to imitate the exact sciences. Economics tends to become a branch of applied mathematics; the majority of all publications in professional journals and books are full of axioms, lemmas and proofs, and they are much concerned with purely formal deductions. Often, when the results are translated into verbal language, or when they are applied empirically, disappointingly little of interest remains. The book wants to show that another type of economics exists which is surprisingly little known. This type of economics has its own particular point of view. It centres on a concept of man, or a model of human behaviour, which differs from those normally used in other social sciences such as sociology, political science, law, or psychology. I do not, how ever, claim that economics is the only legitimate social science. On the vii viii PREFACE contrary, economics can provide useful insights only in collaboration with the other social sciences-an aspect which has been disregarded by mathematically oriented economics.
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