The Power of Beliefs: The Organisational Principles of Economics’ Paradigmatic Core

  • Amos WitztumEmail author


Synopsis : To claim that the co-ordinating powers of the market constitute a natural order, there is a need to show not only that such an order exists (i.e. synchronic order in the sense that it achieves a co-ordinated outcome to economic interactions) but also that it does not offend people’s moral sensibilities (i.e. that it is also a diachronic order). One way of achieving this is by making the system universal and ethically neutral. The way modern economics proposes to do this is by adhering to strict methodological individualism and by removing the ‘other’ (except as someone whose actions may affect us) from all economic considerations. As individuals exist in all societies, and as it is the attitudes towards the ‘other’ which may distinguish one society from another, economics claims to have produced an idea of an order which is universal and independent of ethical or social dispositions. In this chapter, we examine how economics proposes to achieve this outcome and whether it has been successful in its endeavour.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social SciencesLondon School of Economics and Political SciencesLondonUK

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