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Modell, människa eller människosyn?: En analys av kritiska perspektiv på bilden av människan i neoklassisk ekonomisk teori
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology, Ethics.
2005 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study deals with the picture of human being in neoclassical economic theory. Most often this picture is described as an individual agent acting rationally to maximize his own self-interest. Is this a pure model, is it a description of human behavior, or is it even a view of humans built on assumptions of human nature not empirically testable? A first aim of this analysis is to clarify how this picture of human beings should be understood. A second aim is to analyze four critical perspectives of this picture, namely an institutional perspective, a feminist perspective, an African perspective and a communitarian perspective. A third aim is to discuss this picture and the critique of it in relation to the theological concept ‘view of humans’.

The neoclassical economists primarily understand the model as a model only. But at the same time they also admit that there are some connections between the model and real humans, and that people in general behave as the model. The critics on the other hand primarily discuss the model as if it was a mirror of real persons, built on empirically nontestable assumptions about human nature. They argue the model primarily should be understood as a ‘view of humans’. This means that there is a dissonance between neoclassical economists and their critics in how they interpret the model and its connections to reality. Even though neoclassical economists would not admit that their model implies a ‘view of humans’, it is here argued that there is a specific ‘view of humans’ in the foundations of the model, due to its historical context. This ‘view of humans’ is identical with the liberal view, and explains human beings primarily as rational, selfinterested and atomistic individuals. Since this is in contrast with the view of humans implicit in the critique of the model it is concluded that there is also a dissonance in the ‘view of humans’ between neoclassical economists and their critics.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2005. , 186 p.
Uppsala Studies in Social Ethics, ISSN 0346-6507 ; 31
Keyword [en]
Ethics, Neoclassical economics, view of humans, description of humans, model of humans, rationality, self interest, individualism, context, interpretation, dissonance, institutional perspective, feminist perspective, African perspective, communitarian perspective
Keyword [sv]
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-5847ISBN: 91-554-6222-7OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-5847DiVA: diva2:166612
Public defence
2005-05-20, Sal IX, Universitetshuset, Uppsala, 10:00
Available from: 2005-04-29 Created: 2005-04-29Bibliographically approved

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