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Title: The Project of a Personalistic Economics
Author(s): BOUCKAERT, Luk
Journal: Ethical Perspectives
Volume: 6    Issue: 1   Date: 1999   
Pages: 20-32
DOI: 10.2143/EP.6.1.505361

Abstract :
One cannot really speak of a school of personalistic economists. Moreover, there is a wide gulf between the economic philosophy of the personalists and the mathematical context of economic science. Since the thirties, philosophers such as Alexandre Marc, Jacques Maritain, Emmanuel Mounier and many others have been searching, on the basis of a personalistic view of man, for a `third way' between individualistic capitalism and statist socialism 1, but there was seldom interest from the side of the scientific economists. Fortunately, there are some notable exceptions. Fran├žois Perroux, Kenneth Boulding, Ernst Schumacher, Serge Christophe Kolm, and Amartya Sen are economists who, in various ways, have attempted to bridge the gulf between the personalistic view of man and economic rationality. By carrying out an immanentcritique of some of the standard economic assumptions, they opened a path for a normative economics that was clearly distinct from a purely positive economics as well as from Pareto's welfare economics. One can affix various labels to these attempts: humanistic economics (Mark A. Lutz), socio-economics (Amitai Etzioni), moral economics (Sen and others). In what follows, I shall interpret these attempts as initiatives in the direction of a personalistic economics. I would also situate the current research in `economics and ethics', which is becoming part of the mainstream of economic thought, and which has received official recognition with the recent Nobel prize award to Sen, within this tendency towards a more personalistic economics.

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