What is Mainstream Economics?
Most urban economists belong to the school of thought that is called mainstream economics. This school of thought is presented in most intermediate textbooks in microeconomics theory, so most students are already familiar with it. The ethical objective in mainstream economics is the maximization of the utility of the members of a society, where utility depends upon the goods a person consumes and how a person spends his/her time. People are assumed lo act rationally in pursuit of their own interests. The society is constrained by the availability of resources, including land, capital, and (above all) the lime of its members.
Who uses it?
That alternative, “Full-Spectrum Economics,” undoes some of the most persistent blockages found in the current mainstream. It opens up the possibility of an economics that is much more sensitive to both economists’ and “their” agents’ own existential and critical views on economic life. Thus, I hope to contribute to liberating mainstream economics from its self-imposed restrictions. The result is an alternative that is naturally more comprehensive, without having to make shrill claims to being “heterodox.” It is, or so I want to see it, a “post-orthodox” endeavor, based on one of the key epistemological axioms: in the realm of serious philosophical and scientific investigation, no one is ever 100 percent wrong. Which does not mean, obviously, that mainstream reductionists can claim they are 100 percent right.
An existential philosophy is a comprehensive statement about the basic features of the human condition and how they affect human agency. It has at least three assumptions: (1) an existential anthropology that interprets, conceptualizes, and empirically researches the key features of the human condition, (2) an existential psychology that studies empirically (both through scientific experimentation and interpretative one-to-one dialog) how people deal with the human...
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