Pure Duals, Derived Duals and Paretian Fiscal Sociology

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Sheila Dow has been critical of mainstream economic theories, especially general equilibrium, for reflecting a ‘Cartesian mode of thought’ where dualistic categories are utilised to formally determine precise theoretical outcomes which, she contends, are poorly linked to reality. Instead, she advocates a less deterministic methodology that derives from a ‘Babylonian mode of thought’, where analytical categories do not depend on dualistic definitions. This study considers Paretian fiscal sociology in Italy with reference to Dow’s strong anti-dualism and the more moderate anti-dualism of Andrew Mearman, which accepts use of pure duals and derived duals on a temporary basis. It is concluded that the combination of non-Cartesian and Cartesian approaches to fiscal sociology and public finance that developed in Italy under the influence of Vilfredo Pareto are largely immune from Dow’s strong critique, because the Cartesian aspect is limited and qualified. They also share some methodological similarities with Mearman’s more moderate anti-dualism.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUWA Business School
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Publication series

NameEconomics Discussion Papers


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