What is Socio-Economics?

In the previous post, I talked about finding my calling. Here, I’ve finally found the words to define it.

As an emerging meta-discipline, socio-economics begins with the assumption that economics is not a
self-contained system, but is embedded in society, polity, and culture. Socio-economics regards
competition as a subsystem encapsulated within a societal context that contains values, power relations,
and social networks.  The societal context both enables and constrains competition. Socio-economics
assumes that interests are not necessarily or automatically complementary and harmonious, and that
societal sources of order are necessary for markets to function efficiently.

Socio-economics further assumes that individual choices are shaped by values, emotions, social bonds,
and moral judgments rather than by narrow self-interest. There is no a priori assumption that people
act rationally or that they only pursue self-interest or pleasure.

Methodologically, socio-economics regards inductive studies as co-equal in standing with deductive
ones. For example, a study of how firms actually behave has the same basic merit as treating the
firm as an analytic concept in a mathematical model. Inductive inputs and deductive derivations
are assumed to correct and thus balance each other. Socio-economics is both a positive and a normative
science. That is, it openly recognizes its policy relevance and seeks to be self-aware of its normative
implications rather than maintain the mantle of an exclusively positive science.
Socio-economics does not entail a
commitment to any one ideological position, but is open to a range of positions that share a view of
treating economic behavior as involving the whole person and all facets of society

aka, navel gazing on a global scale 🙂

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3 Responses to What is Socio-Economics?

  1. Tim Edwards says:

    Does anyone know of any ancient historical studies taking a socio-economic perspective?
    If there are none, how would one go about quantifying a civilizations socio-economic condition?
    Specifically, I have a theory I want to test regarding linking great projects in ancient times (eg. pyramids at Giza, the hanging gardens, etc) and the socio-economic conditions of the civilizations that produced them.
    Any advice or information relating to this rather vague request would be very gratefully received.
    Thank you very much for posting my questions, and thank you for taking the time to read them.
    Tim Edwards

  2. Niti Bhan says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if there were indeed such studies. While not having come across them myself, my formal education not having had any humanities subjects since I was 14, I’m sure you’d be able to do a search for them online using a combination of keywords? That’s how I’ve usually been able to find lots of useful information and data.
    If there aren’t any formal studies, I think it’s worth taking a look at ‘historical fiction’ where the writer has usually put in a lot of time, effort and research into writing up a story set in an era. John Whyte’s The singing sword series is set very realistically in Roman Britain.

  3. niblettes says:

    Kind of a broad question, but there is lots of work (remembering old archeology lectures) on the socio-economic structures of ancient civilizations like Summer and Akkad, with their redistributive economies centered on collecting goods into the Ziggurat and redistributing them where the royal house sees needs.
    I also recall some work on the social and economic consequences of paper money (the “soft” representation of “hard” wealth required social and economic infrastructures to safeguard trust in the paper, for instance).
    Richard Florida has done a lot of work on socio-economic history. I’m not sure he goes back as far as you want though, and his current work is firmly rooted in today rather than history.
    I can’t recall anything else. Not sure if this helps or just reiterates what you already know.

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