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Economics as a Social Science: An Approach to Nonautistic Theory, a highly readable critique of economic theory based on a wide range of research, endeavors to restore economics to its proper role as a social science. Contrary to conventional economic theory, which assumes that people have no free will, this book instead bases economics on the realistic assumptions that human beings can choose; that we are complex beings affected by emotion, custom, habit, and reason; and that our behavior varies with different circumstances and times. It embraces the findings of history, psychology, and other social sciences, as well as the insights from great literature on human behavior, rejecting the rigid mathematical axioms that define how economics is understood and practiced today.
Andrew M. Kamarck demonstrates that only rough accuracy is attainable in economic measurement and that understanding an economy requires knowledge from other disciplines. The canonical hypotheses of economics (perfect rationality, self-interest maximizing, equilibrium) are shown to be inadequate (and in the case of "equilibrium" to be counterproductive to understanding the forces that dominate the economy), and more satisfactory assumptions are provided. Kamarck shows that the market works imperfectly and that it requires appropriate institutions to perform its function reasonably well. Further, he argues that self-interest does not always serve the general interest.
Economics as a Social Science examines and revises the fundamental assumptions of economics. Because it avoids jargon and explains terms carefully, it will be of interest to economics majors as well as to graduate students of economics and other social sciences, and social scientists working in government and the private sector.
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