How the signified went missing in twentieth-century economic theory: Mises, Hayek and Schumpeter and the abolition of value
Subject Categories::L150 Political Economics
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AbstractThis article contributes to a growing literature on economic epistemologies by arguing that so-called ‘neoliberal’ ways of thinking are characteristic of a trend in wider social theory to privilege epistemological problematics over ontological ones. It will approach the shared nature of these epistemological precepts through an interrogation of the formal approaches to economic value used in the work of Schumpeter, Mises and Hayek and compare this with Derrida and Saussure’s understanding of linguistic value. Using a Marxian understanding of use-value, it will be argued that the movement to abolish the transcendental signified in post-structural philosophy is homologous to the abolition of objective value in economics. It will be claimed that the impulse to abolish the Thing shared by economic theorists and post- structuralists follows from a shared, though necessarily differently constituted, anti- socialism. In both cases, undermining the Thing is seen as a means of undermining organised socialist politics. I will conclude by arguing that these similarities demonstrate the need for neoliberalism and critique of neoliberalism to be historicised as part of a wider account of the relationship between contemporary capitalism, politics and the production of knowledge.
CitationHoctor T (2022) 'How the signified went missing in twentieth-century economic theory: Mises, Hayek and Schumpeter and the abolition of value', New Political Science, 44 (2), pp.336-352.
PublisherTaylor & Francis
JournalNew Political Science
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