In The Delusions of Economics, Gilbert Rist presents a radical critique of neoclassical economics from a social and historical perspective. Rather than enter into existing debates between different orthodoxies, Rist instead explores the circumstances that prevailed when economics was 'invented', and the resultant biases that helped forge the construction of economics as a 'science'. In doing so, Rist demonstrates how these various presuppositions are either obsolete or just plain wrong, and that traditional economics is largely based on irrational convictions that are difficult to debunk due to their 'religious' nature. As a result, we are prevented from properly understanding the world around us and dealing with the financial, environmental, and climatic crises that lie ahead.
Provocative and original, this essential book provides incontrovertible proof that the construction of a new economic paradigm - pluralistic, ecologically compatible, grounded in reality - has now become a necessity.
Gilbert Rist is professor emeritus at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. He first taught at the University of Tunis, became the Director of the Europe-Third World Centre in Geneva and, later on, Senior Researcher on a United Nations University Project. Afterwards he joined the Graduate Institute of Development Studies where he taught intercultural relations and social anthropology. His main interest is in an anthropological approach of our contemporary society. He is the author of The History of Development: From Western Origins to Global Faith (Zed Books, London, 3rd edition, 2008)
Introduction 1. Economics between History and Anthropology 2. A Failed Scientific Ambition 3. Homo Oeconomicus: A Dangerous Phantom 4. Exchange 5. The Fairy Tale of Scarcity 6. Utility and Futility 7. Equilibrium 8. The Growth Obsession 9. Growth Objection 10. Economic 'Science' as Religion 11. Towards a New Paradigm? Conclusion