Economic concepts and theories

What are the concepts?

The concept is a term of natural language (notional communication) involved in the scientific approach to the sense restrictions.

Science - when does not pass to the formalized language - is built using ordinary language (of the community), but so, for example, one who knows Romanian language will understand what an economist would say, on one condition: to know the sense (meaning) of specific terms. Thus, the word "market" is used by any man, but if we consider the economy, we must know the definition of this term and its meaning. Same goes for terms such as even "economics," "macroeconomics," "microeconomics," "increase," "actor" etc. Each of these terms (concepts) has its meaning only within a theory. Thus, the concept of "actor" is used by micro-economic theory in a different sense from that of macroeconomics. The concept of "market" is also the object of debates about its meaning. For each of these concepts, the economic theory gives specific definitions (available in a given theory). There is one's own conceptual structure of thought. We tie a fundamental concept (regarding position relative to individual or collective), a series of basic concepts, others derived from levels, up to the "contact" of the theory with facts. In this way, we make a certain difference between knowledge and theory, theory is a way of organizing knowledge.

What are the scientific theories?

In the pre-theoretical phase the "knowledge is "placed" at the same level, "side by side" without marking the links between them. Confirmation or refutation of a thesis does not have any influence on other theses. There are different views on building theories from the empirical, inductive-empirical and hypothetical-deductive. What kind of theory is developed in economic research? We believe that compared with the economic approach (meta economics, macro and micro economics, general economics, etc.), the economic theories have a different nature. Macro and micro economics are based on a generative hypothesis (mainly collective vision or the mostly individual vision). What concerns us about in this case refers to the content of economic theories.

Generally, a theory includes: The underlying hypothesis and auxiliary hypotheses; Terms of theory (conceptual) "primitive" concepts (which are "on top" of theory and are introduced without being defined)* and derived concepts (defined by the first); Logical relationships between concepts; The theoretical assertions and their empirical basis; Testing systems, experiments etc.; Demonstrative reasoning. The macro and microeconomic analysis will reveal how to build them.

Placing us on a constructivist position, we discuss the legitimacy of concepts and requirements (if any) to reconsider the vocabulary used. Concepts are achieved by the abstraction, i.e. leaving out some issues and retaining those essential in terms of research done. "Concepts are categories used in the selection, organization and preservation experience. They are ideas developed through the process of abstraction. Webster's New World Dictionary defines abstraction as "forming mental ideas by separating the particulars"[1] from an abstract "which was isolated and considered separately. For example, the general idea of 'dog' is an abstract idea. As far as reality shows us only private dogs."[2]

This "separation" has not a rigorous sense, but it is based on epistemological and practical considerations, which means that, in relation with research prospects, the abstraction will miss certain aspects and retain only those considered important to be studied.

In the development of economic theories, as we will see in another chapter, abstraction has been done on very different criteria. Importantly, however, that in this process, we do not overlook only what it is the main importance in understanding and studying the economic problems. The economic theory of neoliberalism is sometimes criticized due to the faulty way of achieving the abstraction.

"This tutelary theory* is a mathematical fiction based, from the beginning on a formidable abstraction (which is not reduced, as economists, the abstraction right defenders, want to believe - inevitably constructive element, indeed, of any science project - to build an object as a deliberately selective coverage of reality, one that, in

* Conceptual definitions involve the use of another concept to highlight the meaning (by indicating "sphere" proximate and "difference" specific. For example, "man is a rational animal" ("the concept of animal, i.e. "proximate area "rational and specific difference. We cannot define all the concepts as we need, always, by another concept (the proximate sphere). Therefore, a theory fixes "his point of departure" by undefined concepts (they can be defined in other theories) the name of a concept on how narrow the so strict rationality identified with individual rationality, puts in brackets the economic and social conditions of the provisions rational (and, especially, the ability of calculating applied economic facts, the vision underlying neoliberal) and economic and social structures which are subject to their application or, more precisely, the production and reproduction of these provisions and structures."[3]

  • [1] Hatch, Mary , Jo op. cit., 10.
  • [2] *** (1984), Dictionaire of philosophie. Larousse, Paris, 2.
  • [3] Bourdieu, Pierre (1992), Counteroffensive. Bucharest: Meridiane, III (x-is the economic theory of neoliberalism).
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