By William J. Bernstein
Acclaimed by way of readers and critics all over the world, A ultimate Exchange is a sweeping narrative historical past of worldwide trade—from Mesopotamia in 3000 B.C. to the firestorm over globalization today—that brilliantly explores trade’s colourful and contentious earlier and gives new insights into its destiny.
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Extra info for A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World
Many of the insights suggested by Niiniluoto will be put on the research agenda to be exploited by philosophically minded students of economics. The chapters dealing with economic models generously offer many examples of notions that can be used to enrich our instruments of assessing the factuality and ﬁctionality of economics, and to do this in a manner that is more reﬁned than what one encounters in most commentaries about the credentials of economics. The list would include concepts such as theoretical and empirical model, story, regularity, causal mechanism, causal power, precision, reliability, scope, robustness, counterfactual, idealization and its relaxation, horizontal and vertical isolation, and kinds of truthlikeness.
There is a long tradition of contrasting rhetoric with knowledge, of seeing a conﬂict between fact-distorting persuasion and a genuine and unbiased interest in the way the real world is. This shows, for example, in the title of numerous books and articles that include as their component the words “rhetoric and reality” or some such, suggesting a contrast between the two: for example, Rhetoric and Reality in Economics (Bauer 1984). Among contemporary students of rhetoric, this contrast is no longer found persuasive.
The idea is that it is an important feature of social reality that people seek to make sense of their social lives: people give accounts of the reasons and worth of their social behavior. In this sense, the social reality encountered by an economist is pre-interpreted by social actors themselves (this view is sometimes called “existential hermeneutics” or “hermeneutical ontology”; see Lavoie 1991). Hargreaves Heap suggests that the standards of judgments of selfworth are shared by others, hence they form a common culture that is external to particular individuals.
A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World by William J. Bernstein