On Tuesday, January 6, the Society of Socio-Economists (SOS) will be holding its annual meeting in Washington, D.C. This years meeting on “Socio-Economics: Broadening the Economic Debate” is being co-sponsored by SPIA and promises to be a valuable and thought provoking event with notable speakers (see below).
The intent of the meeting is to provide people with an opportunity to explore how their research may connect with the ‘socio-economic’ approach to economic analysis, and to build bridges between disciplines and perhaps chart new research collaborations/projects. I have reproduced the “Statement of Socio-Economic Principles” below for those who are not familiar with this text. The principles provide both a sound epistemological foundation and set of ethical rules of fair play regarding economic analysis that could aid the formulation of public policy.
The meeting will consist of a morning plenary followed by a series of concurrent sessions in the afternoon. The plenary is intended to provide a forum that affords everyone a chance to speak and exchange views. Whereas the concurrent sessions allow for more narrowly focused, but still broad, discussions.
The growing list of meeting participants includes the following individuals:
- Nicholas Ashford (MIT)
- Robert Ashford (Syracuse)
- Colleen Baker (Illinois)
- David Bieri (Virginia Tech)
- William Black (University of Missouri – Kansas City)
- June Carbone (Minnesota)
- Harold Channer (Manhattan Neighborhood Network)
- Paul Davidson (Founding Editor, Journal of Post-Keynesian Economics)
- Dusko Doder (Author)
- Richard Gershon (Mississippi)
- Sidney Greenfield (Wisconsin–Milwaukee)
- William Greider (Author, National Affairs correspondent for the Nation)
- Ralph Hall (Virginia Tech)
- Richard Hattwick (Founding Editor – Journal of Socio-Economics)
- David Cay Johnston (Pulitzer Prize Winning Author)
- Sara Jordan (Virginia Tech)
- Robert Kirsch (Salisbury University)
- Nina Kohn (Syracuse)
- Sarah Lyon-Hill (Virginia Tech)
- Tayyab Mahmud (Seattle)
- Michael Malloy (McGeorge)
- Katherine McFate (Center for Effective Government)
- Stefan Padfield (Akron)
- Robert Prasch (Middlebury)
- Falguni Sheth (Hampshire College)
- Susan Sterett (Virginia Tech)
- Katie Wells (Virginia Tech)
- Johnanne Winchester (United Nations Liaison)
- Stuart Yasgur (Economist, Ashoka Foundation)
Statement of Socio-Economic Principles
Socio-economics begins with the assumption that economics is not a self-contained system, but is embedded in society, polity, culture, and nature. Drawing upon economics, sociology, political science, psychology, anthropology, biology, and other social and natural sciences, philosophy, history, law, management, and other disciplines, socio-economics regards competitive behavior as a subset of human behavior within a societal and natural context that both enables and constrains competition and cooperation. Rather than assume that the individual pursuit of self-interest automatically or generally tends toward an optimal allocation of resources, socio-economics assumes that societal sources of order are necessary for people and markets to function efficiently. Rather than assume that people act only rationally, or that they pursue only self-interest, socio-economics seeks to advance a more encompassing interdisciplinary understanding of economic behavior open to the assumption that individual choices are shaped not only by notions of rationality but also by emotions, social bonds, beliefs, expectations, and a sense of morality.
Socio-economics is both a positive and a normative science. It is dedicated to the empirical, reality testing approach to knowledge. It respects both inductive and deductive reasoning. But it also openly recognizes the policy relevance of teaching and research and seeks to be self-aware of its normative implications rather than maintaining the mantle of an exclusively positive science. Although it sees questions of value inextricably connected with individual and group economic choices, socio-economics does not entail a commitment to any one paradigm or ideological position, but is open to a range of thinking that treats economic behavior as involving the whole person and all facets of society within a continually evolving natural context.
Unique among interdisciplinary approaches, however, socio-economics recognizes the pervasive and powerful influence of the neoclassical paradigm on twentieth century thought. Recognizing that people first adopt paradigms of thought and then perform their inductive, deductive, and empirical analyses, socio-economists seek to examine the assumptions of the neoclassical paradigm, develop a rigorous understanding of its limitations, improve upon its application, and develop alternative, perhaps complementary, approaches that are predictive, exemplary, and morally sound. With modest amendment, this description of Socio-economics was the substance of the petition signed by more than one hundred twenty law professors from over fifty member schools of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS), to establish the AALS Section on Socio-Economics. It serves as the constitution of the Section. Source.