Methodology and policy prescription in economic thought: A response to Mario Bunge

Bunge (2000) distinguishes two main methodological approaches of holism and individualism, and associates with them policy prescriptions of centralism and laissez-faire. He identifies systemism as a superior approach to both the study and management of society. The present paper, seeking to correct and develop this line of thought, suggests a more complex relation between policy and methodology. There are two possible methodological underpinnings for laissez-faire: while writers such as Friedman and Lucas fit Bunge’s pattern, more sophisticated advocates of laissez-faire, such as Smith and Hayek, base their policy prescription in a methodology quite divergent from the individualism Bunge describes.
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