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Is Homo Economicus Sovereign in His Own Sphere? A Challenge from Neo-Calvinism for the Neoclassical Model

Jordan J. Ballor

Abstract


The mainstream model of homo economicus or “economic man” has been both a major tool for modern economic theory as well as the focus of much criticism and debate. The Dutch Neo-Calvinist tradition can be fruitfully placed into dialogue with neoclassical economics, bringing both challenges to as well as opportunities for cross-disciplinary edification. Neo-Calvinism can both acknowledge the legitimacy as well as the limitations of the neoclassical model, with implications for the use of social scientific models more generally. While affirming the relative legitimacy (or we might say “sovereignty”) of homo economicus, the Neo-Calvinist tradition also raises challenges that social scientific models must grapple with, particularly with respect to the latent anthropological and theological assumptions about reality that are inevitably embedded in any model.

Jordan J. Ballor, "Is Homo Economicus Sovereign in His Own Sphere? A Challenge from Neo-Calvinism for the Neoclassical Model," Journal of Markets & Morality 25, no. 1 (2022): 7-22


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