Economics and life – an article
June 4, 2006 § Leave a comment
This is a very interesting article on how economics, as an administrative discipline, came to separate out economics from the rest of life.
To recapitulate: ideas about national economy, and about the “economic” as a distinct
part of life, were generated by a particular way of dividing up observable human
society. Economists began with a complexly interconnected social and historical world,
“an unresolved and prior combination of reason, force, imagination and resources,”41
and split it into economic and non-economic realms, and they did so in an indirect way.
Unable to define “the economic” on its own terms without vagueness, they seized on a
popular sentimentalized notion of the family, defined it as non-economic, and used that
idealized picture of the sentimental motherhood to define the economic as its opposite:
the economic was defined as the non-non-economic.