Literary Salon

From Political Economy to Economics: Theory and Ideology

31 jan 2019 14:15 31 jan 2019 16:00 ENG

Ben Fine (SOAS, University of London) in conversation with Michael Alvarez (UiB).

The "Economics" which emerged at the end of the 19th century largely abandoned the rich sociological, historical, and political components that characterized the "Political Economy" of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Professor Ben Fine (SOAS, University of London) argues in his prize-winning book From Political Economy to Economics: Method, the Social and the Historical in the Evolution of Economic Theory that the discipline of Economics has become a monolithic science significantly disconnected from history, society, and other disciplines.

Michael Alvarez (Department of Comparative Politics) has invited Professor Fine to discuss this book in order to explore how mainstream economics has become a discipline which most ordinary citizens (as well as university students) see as increasingly irrelevant for describing and understanding the societies in which they live.

As Fine and Alvarez trace the evolution of economic thought they will consider a range of questions which are particularly relevant for a world of increasing inequality in the distribution of income, wealth, and social power, including the following: How is ideology reflected in economic theory? What are the consequences (if any) of this evolution in economic theory for public policy and economic performance in the real world? Can economic theory help us to make sense of the current increase in income and wealth inequality?

We welcome all to an important discussion on the interplay between social and political power and the contest between rival ideologies.