Schools of Thought

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This month’s focus is an introduction to Associative Economics as a school of thought. The topic has been prompted by the work of INET and the WEA, especially by WEA’s ‘Approaches’ project, as outlined in Sign of Our Time.

It is not the aim of this current issue to set out a manifesto for a new Associative Economics school, but to survey the current situation, and question if one more school among many is the required solution. The role of various schools on the evolution of one economic idea will be investigated and placed in historical context, before re-analysing its foundation, not though tinkering with the last incarnation, but by re-thinking its conception from the economic facts.

As the consequences of the financial crises have hit, the clamour for new approaches to economics has risen. However, it is not clear whether these changes should be practical solutions, or theoretical models, or both. And to what extent new concepts actually do replace the flawed assumptions of previous ones, or if they just tinker at the edges, or worse throw the baby out with the bath water.

This edition takes a look at the currently accepted ‘schools’ via two mainstream websites. A diagram of the economics family tree helps situate these as well as reveal the complicated interconnections.

The influence of the various historic schools is investigated in the first Lead which surveys the evolution of theories of value. As such does each revision represent progress towards uncovering a truth, or does each step highlight an opportunity missed to re-evaluate fully all of the assumptions of the previous thinking.

The second Lead takes this on and reimagines the theory of value by first thinking through the ideas presented by Rudolf Steiner in his course on economics (Economics – the world as one economy). And then re-thinking the concepts of values to construct Steiner’s theory of value.

The AEX page features a single post looking at the twin theory of value and how this has appeared within the participants’ lifetime experiences.

Rounding off the issue is Victor’s View which ties together the preceding articles by asking whether an additional school of thought is required (to be sat along side those listed in the Archive or bolted on to the evolutionary process as detailed in the first Lead). Or whether new economic thinking is required to perceive the economic actions afresh, as demonstrated in the second Lead.

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