Chapter

Tending the Body

Julie A. Nelson

in Economics for Humans

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2006 | ISBN: 9780226572024
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226572055 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226572055.003.0002
Tending the Body

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This chapter reviews the history of economics from its early concern with bodily provisioning. It tries to demonstrate that the metaphor of the mechanistic, amoral, clockwork economy has particular historical roots, and so to call into question the impression that it is a directly revealed truth. Economics came to be about provisioning and perhaps, secondarily, the taxation that provided the support for the ruling class. Then, it explains how the probusiness folks are likely to perceive their critics. The studies in academic economics are elaborated upon as well. Businesspeople often defend capitalism because they highly value provisioning, employment creation, self-reliance, and innovation. Some economists are now starting to believe the idea that a well-functioning market system might be something more than a machine driven by self-interest. Some are beginning to think that perhaps an economy needs to pay attention to ethical norms and social ties and create well-designed human institutions.

Keywords: academic economics; historical roots; taxation; probusiness folks; capitalism; provisioning

Chapter.  4904 words. 

Subjects: Economics

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