Die filosofiese grondslae van ekonomiese beginsels
Kleynhans, Ewert Philippus Johannes.
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This dissertation explores whether the way that market agents act and understand the economy can be derived from Western philosophy. Modern economic science is based on a few assumptions and principles, and the intention is to determine if these assumptions and principles are properly substantiated. The study commences with an overview of the development of Western philosophical thought ? from Ancient Greek philosophy through to today?s contemporary philosophy. The various views of thought through history were described, as far as it might provide some insight into the problem statement. The focus was to search mainly for philosophies that supported the basic economic principles to some extent. The third chapter described and explained the basic economic assumptions and principles that underlie modern Economic science. Economics as a science was defined first, and thereafter the assumptions were discussed, for example perfect information of market participants, rational conduct, entrepreneurship, the marginal rule, trade as a basic human instinct and the free market principle. The chapter concludes with an investigation into the principles of demand and supply and economic equilibrium in the marketplace. The fourth chapter served as an application of the previous two chapters and focused on specific themes and central debates that form the modern economy. There was a reflection on the economic agent as a rational being, perfect knowledge and uncertainty, the conflict motive, free completion, empiricism, utilitarianism, pragmatism, individualism, private property, Economics as a natural science, the role of econometrics and mathematics, economic theory as holy truth, and the alienation between theory and practice. Finally, consideration was given to moral aspects that underlie modern economic thought and the study concluded by considering the v marginal rule once again. The findings of the study were summarised and discussed in the last chapter. A study was made of the philosophical history to determine where the basic principles and concepts of Economics come from. It was shown that some elements originated with the ancient Greeks. It was also shown that the Classical Economic assumptions were not made randomly, but were built on a sound foundation provided by the great philosophers of the past, such as Plato, Aristotle, Locke and Leibniz. Although the economic assumptions are similar to the views of some philosophers of the past, it should, however, be treated with circumspection. Due to the complexity of the economy and society, it is not possible to isolate and study it as a whole. No single theory or school is able to explain the functioning of the economy completely. This is the main reason why economic theory often differs from what happens in practice. Each theory and school makes a contribution to explain the functioning of the economy, but mankind cannot control its complexity, and because of the dynamic nature of markets and the economy, it is also continually changing. The best that economists and the business world can do is to follow an eclectic approach and take the best from each theory or school. This means, however, that no Economic theory will ever be able to provide a comprehensive picture of the whole economy. The scope and complexity of economic reality cause this dissertation to be only an introductory survey of the problem. It was shown that most of the economic principles built on the work of earlier thinkers, but it was also indicated that the assumptions are in many cases not true, and in others, simplifications because of the complexity of economic reality. Traces from Philosophy, which underlies Economics, were found, but they were not as strong and as much as the researcher intended. It is, however, only a preliminary investigation and much more research is still needed.
- Humanities