Inderscience Publishers

The value of John Dewey's pragmatism for green economics

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The paper proposes that green economists will find the core ideas of the US pragmatist philosopher John Dewey of value both as a critique of the untenable 'rationalism' that permeates the currently dominant neoclassical economics and as an underpinning for their own more holistic, complex, grounded and intentional understanding of the discipline. The article summarises some of Dewey's core ideas, along with the two principal fallacies that he identified in rationalist thinking. I then try to demonstrate that classical economics has consistently been prone to fall for these fallacies. More pragmatic approaches, particularly of John Maynard Keynes and his disciple John Kenneth Galbraith, led to greater social justice and economic stability wherever they were implemented, but the economic advice taken by democratic governments in recent decades has again been strongly influenced by neoclassical ideas. However, the looming crises and disillusionment to which this advice has led indicate that a new direction may be on the horizon.

Keywords: green economics, pragmatism, rationalism, philosophical fallacies, classical economic theory, sustainable development, political ideology, sustainability, neoclassical economics

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