Economics as Ideology

Part of the Recent Economic Thought Series book series (RETH, volume 21)


I take Mirowski’s brilliant summary as my charge, and I shall attempt to fulfill its demands by considering economics as ideology. Hence the first order of business is to clarify what I mean by this troublesome word.1 As I have been at some pains to assert in my previous writings, I do not use ideology in a pejorative sense, as an apologia offered on behalf of some unannounced, usually political, interest, or as a description or explanation knowingly at variance with perceived reality. On the contrary, I understand an ideology to be utterances in which the speaker deeply believes — statements to which the “interests” themselves repair in search of enlightment. Ideologies in this sense are “social constructions of reality” in Berger and Luckmann’s (1966) terminology. They are conceptual frameworks by which order is imposed upon, and moral legitimacy accorded to, the raw stuff out of which social understanding must be forged (Heilbroner, 1973; 1985, Chapter 5; and 1988, Chapters 1 and 8.)


Belief System Social Reality Neoclassical Economic Neoclassical Theory General Equilibrium Analysis 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1990

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