This book argues that economists need to reengage with societal issues, such as justice and fairness in distribution, that inevitably arise when discussing the basic economic problem of unlimited human wants and finite resources. Approaching the problem through a history of economic thought, Johnson reexamines Adam Smith’s contributions to show how they reach beyond neoclassical models that are too simplistic to reflect the growing interdependencies of market economies. He breaks down supposedly value-free neoclassical postulates to expose normative assumptions about economics and justice, demonstrating, for example, that the concept of market equilibrium is problematic because need-based behavior can produce involuntary unemployment even when a competitive labor market achieves equilibrium.
Table of Contents
Part I. HUMANS, SOCIETY AND MARKETS
Chapter 1. The Foundations of Economics
Chapter 2. The Political and Moral Dimension of Economics
Chapter 3. The Moral and Social Problem of Scarcity
Chapter 4. Social Welfare, Markets and Efficiency
Chapter 5. Understanding Human Choice
Chapter 6. Challenges to Homo Economicus
Part II. INCOME DISTRIBUTION: LABOR AND FINANCIAL MARKETS
Chapter 8. The Supply of Labor
Chapter 10. Labor Market Equilibrium?
Chapter 11. The Mondragón Alternative
Chapter 12. Financial Markets and the Growth of Plutonomies
Chapter 13. The Evolving Dialogue