Jo, Tae-Hee. 2016. “The Social Provisioning Process and Heterodox Economics,” MPRA Working Paper 72384. [Download the paper]
Note: This paper is written for the Routledge Handbook of Heterodox Economics, edited by Tae-Hee Jo, Lynne Chester, and Carlo D’Ippoliti, to be published in 2017 by Routledge. A later, revised version is co-authored with Zdravka Todorova.
Abstract: The social provisioning process is how heterodox economists define economics in general. Instead of having a narrow definition of what constitutes economics, such as the mainstream has with its allocation of scarce resources among competing ends via the price mechanism, heterodox economists have opted for a much more expansive definition that permits different theoretical explanations for ways in which the provisioning process can take place in different types of economies in different historical contexts. In this chapter, we first examine the changes in the definition of economics from classical political economy to neoclassical and heterodox economics. The comparison between classical political economy and neoclassical economics manifests a clear distinction in view of economy and economics. The second section substantiates the meaning of the social provisioning process. In doing so we make a case that, first, defining heterodox economics as the study of the social provisioning process positions heterodox economics as an alternative to neoclassical economics, and, second, that such an expansive definition of economics has potential to synthesize various heterodox theoretical frameworks in a constructive manner.