1st Edition

Humanity and Nature in Economic Thought Searching for the Organic Origins of the Economy

Edited By Gábor Bíró Copyright 2022
    206 Pages
    by Routledge

    206 Pages
    by Routledge

    Humanity and Nature in Economic Thought: Searching for the Organic Origins of the Economy argues that organic elements seen as incompatible with rational homo economicus have been left out of, or downplayed in, mainstream histories of economic thought.

    The chapters show that organic aspects (that is, aspects related to sensitive, cognitive or social human qualities) were present in the economic ideas of a wide range of important thinkers including Hume, Smith, Malthus, Mill, Marshall, Keynes, Hayek and the Polanyi brothers. Moreover, the contributors to this thought-provoking volume reveal in turn that these aspects were crucial to how these key figures thought about the economy.

    This stimulating collection of essays will be of interest to advanced students and scholars of the history of economic thought, economic philosophy, heterodox economics, moral philosophy and intellectual history.

    Chapter 1: Introduction

    Chapter 2: Sympathies for Common Ends: The Principles of Organization in Hume’s Psychology and Political Economy
    Tamás Demeter

    Chapter 3: Adam Smith on Organic Change in Moral Beliefs
    Craig Smith

    Chapter 4: Malthusianism In and Out of Darwinism. Naturalising Society and Moralising Nature?
    Antonello La Vergata

    Chapter 5: J.S. Mill’s Understanding of the “Organic” Nature of Socialism
    Helen McCabe

    Chapter 6: The Concept of Organic Growth in Marshall’s Work
    Neil B. Niman

    Chapter 7: The Role of Keynes’s Idea of “Organic Unity” in his “General Theory” of Capitalism
    Ted Winslow

    Chapter 8: Unintended Order and Self-Organization in the Evolutionary Social Theory of Friedrich Hayek
    Hilton L. Root

    Chapter 9: The Politics of Naturalizing the Economy: Organic Aspects in the Economic Thought of Karl and Michael Polanyi
    Gábor Bíró


    Gábor Bíró is an Assistant Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Philosophy and History of Science at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, and a Research Fellow of the MTA Lendület Morals and Science Research Group at the Research Centre for the Humanities, Budapest, Hungary. He was awarded the History of Economics Society 'Craufurd Goodwin Best Article Prize' in 2021 for his paper on Michael Polanyi and the first economics film, published in the Journal of the History of Economic Thought.

    "The remarkable strength of the book is its comprehensive explanation of how various thinkers have approached organic elements and seamlessly integrated them into their economic theories... This is well explained to readers and enables them to better understand the profound impact of organic dimensions on the field of economic thought."

    Volkan Yücel, Contemporary Sociology

    "...there is the splendid discussion by Antonello La Vergata of the relations between Darwinism and Malthusianism (chap. 4)...He emphasizes the moral dimension of the work of Malthus, a dimension that served as the link between the biological, the social, and the political sphere. It is this moral link on which social Darwinismis based and which, almost inevitably, leads to both the moralization of nature and the naturalization of society— phenomena the dangers of which La Vergata warns against...All in all, this volume is a collection of one fascinating [chap. 4] and a couple of (more or less) interesting essays."

    Fritz Söllner, History of Political Economy