As is well-known, one of the most interesting aspects of Karl Polanyi’s thought is linked to his introduction into economic debate, of the concept of "economistic fallacy". This formulation gave the Hungarian scholar the possibility of clarifying that the logical error made by economists, especially those of the neoclassical persuasion, consists in establishing "an equality between human economics in general and its market forms" (Polanyi 1977: 28). According to this author, when we attempt to reason on economic sphere, we must bear in mind the fact that it can be distinguished in two very different ways, the formal and the substantial, and that the two must be kept quite distinct from one another. In a formal sense, economics is understood as meaning the means-ends relationship in conditions of scarcity. But the substantial sense must be added to this vision: human beings live in relation to each other and in relation to their surrounding environment and so, their basic human needs are not only of a material nature, but also concern the historical and institutional foundations around which their lives revolve. In addiction, the choices made by economic actors are not necessarily linked to the principle of scarcity: this scarcity "can happen if the means are sufficient or if they are not. The moral choice is indicated by the intention of the agent to do what is right: this situation, at the crossroads between good and evil, constitutes the objective of ethics" (Polanyi 1977: 49). Therefore, if we only reason by way of formal economics, we risk erasing a large part of the history of mankind. If we tried to see all the different economic forms which, under varying names, could be traced back to solidarity economics, through the eyes of orthodox economists, we would probably have to give in to the fact that we are in the presence of some of the more colorful phenomena present in our society. But it is thanks to Polanyi that we are able to study these phenomena, and can accord them the dignity they deserve.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.