Numero 07 ECONOMY

The Commons between Economics, Law, and Philosophy


This paper briefly explores the cultural and political context within which the notion of the “commons” has developed as a successful idea. It explores some notions such as “sustainability” that have been already normalized by mainstream economics, and it asks the question of whether a similar fate will happen also to the commons. The essay discusses some current contestations of this notion and its revolutionary potential, and it concludes that by genuinely deploying the commons as a weapon of revolutionary theory and praxis, scholars might succeed in developing a new vision rooted neither in the positivistic world of the “is” nor in the ideological world of the “ought to be” but in the creative and generative world of the “could be.”


Critique of Political Economy and Politics: between Althusser and Marx

Personen / Politiker / Deutschland / Marx / Schriften

The essay investigates some distinctive features of the critique of political economy, and especially its relation with the realm of politics. To this purpose, reference is made to Althusser’s interpretation of Marx in Lire le Capital, with its strengths and limitations. The essay explores a complex mode of understanding the link between theory and praxis according to which it is not possible to deduce one term from the other.


Economics and Relations: The Difficult Way out of the Logic of Homo Oeconomicus


The model of the homo oeconomicus as a social agent whose only goal is the maximization of individual profit has been criticized for two decades at least. Yet, the wide debate on the crisis of such a model has not affected its popularity at the level of generalized sensibility. Therefore, understanding the reasons for such a success and asking whether the critiques truly hit the mark become important. After a brief excursus of the history of the concept, the essay investigates three cases of such critiques: B. S. Frey’s proposal of the homo oeconomicus maturus, the critique coming from the rediscovery of civil economics as proposed by S. Zamagni and L. Bruni, and the general anthropological rethinking caused by the theme of the gift. Through this path, the author argues for a specific thesis, namely, that in order to move “beyond” the homo oeconomicus implementing its model is not enough; rather, one needs to reformulate the anthropological vision that supports it.


The Relation between Economy and Finance


Concepts such as rationality, usefulness, preference, happiness, (neo)liberalism, capital, profit, currency, money, credit, financial products, and derivatives seem to belong to the same field, whereas on the contrary the economic crises that succeed one another are prompting us to reflect on the kind of anthropology and cultural horizon within which such concepts have emerged and solidified.

Today, answering the questions “What is economy?” and “What is finance?” seems inescapable. Whereas economy is a set of social relations that unfolds in the three fields of production, circulation, and distribution of goods, the definition of finance and the nature and typology of financial products are less clear.


The Dreams of Finance explained with the Dreams of Metaphysics


The recent economic crisis has called a strong attention to the problem of financial speculation and its disastrous consequences for real economy. But what is “speculation”? This word has its origin within the philosophical field: starting from this remark, this essay questions the relation between the philosophical and the economical concepts of speculation, trying to show their common “metaphysical” structure. Kant’s critique of speculation is then taken as guide for a philosophical critique of economic speculation and its financial Schwärmerei.

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