Forum, Futuribles Journal n° 261

Économie, emploi - Institutions

Ecce homo... oeconomicus ou sapiens ? De l'avenir de la science économique


Taking as his starting-point a recent article by Richard Thaler on the future of economics, Alain Michel launches a vigorous attack on "economic science" which is interested only in homo oeconomicus with his supposedly rational behaviour, and pleads instead for "political economy" which is concerned with homo sapiens as a being also motivated by emotions, sensitivity, perhaps with a soul.
He shows how economists, utterly convinced of the scientific nature of their work, have managed to create a form of economics that is heavily mathematical and nothing to do with the real world -an approach that is admittedly not without interest, but its claims to objectivity are exaggerated and it lacks real descriptive force.
He points out that human beings are not bloodless agents who act in a purely rational way, so that their actions cannot be understood without combining the branches of knowledge that have been artificially separated in the name of science. He is therefore highly critical of the current scientism, and in fact highlights its limits; instead he argues passionately in favour of a more interdisciplinary approach that is better suited to an understanding of homo sapiens, who for that matter is a more congenial being.

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