Markets, Productivity, and Happiness in a Historical Perspective

Today’s economics: One, No One, or One Hundred Thousand

Cedrini Mario, Università di Torino
Davis John B., Marquette University and University of Amsterdam
Ambrosino Angela, Università di Torino

If today’s economics were a novel, it would perhaps be Nobel Laureate Luigi Pirandello’s “One, No One and One Hundred Thousand”, of 1926. Like protagonist Vitangelo Moscarda, who suddenly discovers that everyone he has ever met had constructed a different and imaginary identity of himself, today’s economics seems somehow victim of an identity crisis. In the analogy, “one” is the epoch of monolithism, from Lionel Robbins to economics imperialism. “No one” is the epoch of fragmentation, from reverse imperialisms to the fractured mirror of so-called “mainstream pluralism”. “One Hundred Thousand” is the passage to a future of diversity and pluralism. The paper adopts the open/closed system approach to refocus this evolution, and suggests that the current state of effervescence can prepare the advent of an institutionalist, non-paradigmatic paradigm, helping the discipline to open itself to social sciences, where the institutionalist perspective is already part of the toolbox.


Keywords: Economics as discipline; mainstream pluralism; fragmentation; open-system logic; economics imperialism and reverse imperialisms; institutional economics

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