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Economics and Sociology: Is a New Dialogue Awakening?

Velimir ŠONJE

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In this text the authors challenge and critically assess some of
the theses presented in the article of sociologist Vjeran
Katunari} "To Be Worth and to Cost: Social-Cultural
Prerequisites of Transition in the Recent Works of the
Croatian Economists", who defined three approaches to
classify the recent works of selected Croatian economists.
The authors attempt to prove that exclusive separation and
examining of the ideological foundations might not be a
good starting point for the classification of the economists as
it overlooks some other more important differences and
possible classification criteria related to the subjects, theories
and methodology of the analyses. Although it is indisputable
that economics is not immune to ideological influences, the
authors elaborate why overemphasising such an influence as
the only criteria for classification might give a totally distorted
picture of the present economic thought and its
achievements. The authors argue that the differences among
economists according to the subjects, theories and
methodology are far more important and not always
ideologically charged, and thus present better classification
criteria which ought to be used in some future classifications
of Croatian economists. The authors touch upon the
methodological difficulties in creation of classification groups
of the selected Croatian economists, which are the most
profound in the group of "relativists" and especially review
the faults in the classification of the first two groups
(neoliberal reductionists and neoinstitutionalists). Following
Katunari}'s framework of analysis, they use the discussion on
the classification as the impetus for analysing key social
and historical questions such as why socialism did not work
out and what is the relation between ideology and economic
policy in the functioning and development of the market. In
conclusion the authors emphasise the need for
interdisciplinary dialogue in revealing the mechanisms of
influence of "non-economic" variables on economic results
and behaviour of key economic agents on the market.


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