Reorienting critical realism: a system‐wide perspective on the capitalist economy

Journal of Economic Methodology 14 (4):499-519 (2007)
Abstract
This paper critiques the critical realist conception of social relations as ?deep? structures separate from ?surface? social activities. The alternative conception offered by ?systematic dialectics? is advocated. Systematic dialectics takes a system?wide perspective on the contemporary economic system. From this perspective, predominant social relations are inseparable from predominant social activities contra critical realism. For example, the predominance of commodity exchange relations across the economic system necessarily implies the predominance of the activities of commodity exchange. Likewise the predominance of monetary relations across the economic system necessarily implies the predominance of the activities of monetary exchange. Maintaining this system?wide perspective on the capitalist economy, systematic dialectics furthermore offers alternative analyses to critical realism of event regularities (?closures?), of ?depth?, and of ?tendencies?
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