The Cult of the Market

Economic Fundamentalism and its Discontents

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Setting the Scene
Chapter 2. The Creation of Social Order is Irreducibly a Moral Project
Assumptions Underlying Contemporary Public Policy Debates
How is Social Order Possible?
Social Order is an Evolved Complex Moral Order
The Maintenance of Social Order Also Involves the Creation of Moral Institutions
The Maintenance of Social Order Involves Moral Choice and Struggle
Chapter 3. The Relationship Between the Economic System and the Social Order
Current Theories Explaining the Existence of Social Order
Chapter 4. A Brief Account of the Historical Origins of Economic Fundamentalism
A Brief History
Chapter 5. A Critique of the Conceptual Foundations of Economic Fundamentalism
Introduction: The Contemporary Epochal Transformation in the Western Mind
The Excessive Western Faith in Objectivism
Chapter 6. The Privileged Status of ‘Science’
Introduction: Science and Rationality
The Contemporary Philosophy of Science
The Particular Difficulties of the Social ‘Sciences’
Chapter 7. What, Then, Can We Say of the Status of Economics?
The Distinction Between Positive and Normative Theorising, Particularly in Economics
The Questionable Status of Economics within the Human Conversation
Can Moral Philosophy Assist Economists in Providing Policy Advice?
Chapter 8. The Critique of Neoclassical Economics and its Influence on Policy Decisions
Where Are We Going?
Mainstream Economics
The Long-Running Critique of Neoclassical Economics and its Limited Relevance to Policy
The Mainstream Reaction to this Torrent of Criticism
Economic Policy and Epistēmē
Idealisation in Neoclassical Economics
The Normative Use of Neoclassical Economic Idealisations
Market failure
The Flawed Assumptions of Neoclassical Economic Idealisation
Individual preferences again
Rational choices and optimisation
Pareto-optimality and welfare
General equilibrium
The general theory of the second-best
Information economics
The separation of efficiency from distribution
Game theory
The Formal Ontological Critique of Neoclassical Economics
The Appreciative Justification for Competitive Markets and its Association with Lockean Political Theorising
Economics and Economic Growth
New and Revived Schools of Economics
The Reform of Economic Teaching
Chapter 9. The Doctrine of Freedom of Contract
Some Reflections on the Doctrine of Freedom of Contract
The Recent Fair-Trading Debate in Australia
Chapter 10. Some Normative Reflections
Economics as a Secular Religion
The Need for Intellectual Humility
Final Thoughts