Concepts of Intentionality and Economics

The claim set out in this paper is that economics, unlike the natural sciences, does not have an ontologically objective subject, because economic life, unlike matter, is the product of intentionality. Economic events have a meaning and a purpose, physical events do not. Modern economics attempts to overcome this problem – namely, the lack of ontologically objective objects – by substituting for the intentional objects of economic life a surrogate reality where its objects – such as ’employment’, ’interest’, ’money’ ’marginal utility’, ’equilibrium’ and so on – are purportedly endowed with the properties of measurable ontological objectivity with the help of the specially developed tool-based language of models so as to create objects that are suitable for scientific investigation in general and measurement in particular. But the tool-based language of modern economics is just as intentional as the ordinary language used by the classical economists; it too constitutes the reality that is its object and does not represent some reality outside it. Reification – turning the dynamics of economic processes into static objects – hides an ideology behind a veneer of false scientism. The subjective ontology of economic events necessarily means that economics is not an analytic but a descriptive moral science.

Released: Replika 121–122, 233–248.