En ny vetenskapsteoretisk grund för nationalekonomin

The essential point here is that while the post-Humean, constant-conjunction, view of science entails the goal of control along with the amelioration of events and states of affairs, the transcendental realist perspective offers instead the goal of human emancipation. For while on the former account the point is (if and where possible) to fix certain event(s) x in order to determine or control other event(s) y, on the transcendental realist understanding the aim must (or at least can) be to transform structures in order to enhance the scope for realising human potential, to broaden opportunities. Social structures as conceived here do not determine what happens. They do though make a difference by constraining and (thereby) enabling. Now if in this aspect they are no different to natural structures or mechanisms, they are so in that social structures, unlike most natural mechanisms, can be not only utilised but also transformed. On this account economic policy can substitute for the traditional objective of controlling the future, one of replacing unwanted, unneeded and overly restrictive structures by those that are wanted, needed and empowering.

Tony Lawson



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